FARMERS in the St Austell area are speaking out against the pipeline that will serve the desalination plant proposed by South West Water.  

The 13km route between the proposed plant at Par and the treatment works near Lostwithiel will pass through agricultural land.  

Farmers have complained that South West Water officials have been turning up on their land without notice and carrying out work without consulting them, while one claimed surveyors abandoned a portable toilet in his yard.  

The farmer, who preferred not to be named, said: “They just turn up. I’ve had quad bikes driving over my fields, teams of people dragging equipment over my land, wildlife monitoring boxes left in my hedges and drones flying overhead.  

“If we question them, they simply say there is a statutory requirement for the surveys to be made and we have no choice. I wouldn’t mind if they knocked on my door first, just to let me and my wife know what they are doing and why – but they never bother.” 

Surveys have included below ground investigations, geophysical surveys to map archaeological remains, monitoring of lighting and acoustics, and wildlife surveys of populations and habitats for creatures including bats, dormice and hedgehogs habitats. 

While farmers say the proposed pipeline will impact on whether or not they will be able to sow their crops or use affected fields for grazing, local history group In Search of Tywardreath (ISOT) has also expressed concern about the archaeological impact of the proposed route.  

“This area was the site of a major civil war battle and many historical artefacts have been found locally,” said ISOT chair Helen Barden.   

“I simply don’t understand why we need a desalination plant when we have such a high rainfall in Cornwall, but I can only hope that there will be a full archaeological watching brief on these plans.” 

A spokesperson for South West Water said: “We are ensuring that all farmers whose land has been surveyed or is set to be surveyed are served notice well in advance. 

“We are working closely with all parties affected by this planned work and have a dedicated team of people available to answer queries or concerns that they may have.”  

Farmers and landowners are advised to get in touch with a dedicated South West Water team by email at [email protected]