My name is Andrew Kendall and I’m the County Business Leader at United Utilities with responsibility for Cumbria.

I am a proud Cumbrian, starting as an apprentice at United Utilities back in 2001. I live at Grange-over-Sands and have done all my life, it’s a beautiful part of the world and a great place to raise my young family. I lead our newly created Cumbria squad focused on delivering all aspects of our water and wastewater services across the county. 

It’s my job to lead our teams who own and operate our pipes, plants and pumping stations in the area, and to make sure we provide a great service and deliver on the huge improvements we are embarking on to help leave a positive legacy for the environment.

My very first day on the job back in 2001 was actually at Windermere wastewater treatment works, and when I think back to that time, the treatment works has changed hugely since then thanks to the investment we’ve made there over the years.

By 2005 we had installed cutting edge Ultra-Violet light treatment at Windermere to disinfect the treated water, and then by 2010 we added a new nutrient reduction process which would halve the levels of phosphorus in the treated water.

Roll on another ten years to 2020 and we installed the tightest phosphorus reduction achievable, down to a world-leading 0.25 parts per million.  We also began treating twice the previous volumes of wastewater thanks to the upgraded pumping station at the Glebe and the new larger pipeline between the two sites.     

Over the last 30 years we’ve carried out similar investment at Ambleside, Grasmere and Hawkshead, constantly upgrading to new processes when advances in technology became available.  It’s work like this which has led to the steady decline of phosphorus in the lake since the early 1990s, as reported by the University of Lancaster.  In fact, the latest data from the Environment Agency shows that levels of phosphorus have halved from United Utilities sites around Windermere since 2020.

That work continues today, which is why we are currently building four new projects to reduce the impact of storm water overflowing from sewers into Windermere. By 2027 we will have constructed new storm water storage tanks at Hawkhead, Ambleside, Elterwater and Near Sawrey, at a cost of £41 million, reducing storm water spills by 50%.

Windermere wastewater treatment worksWindermere wastewater treatment works (Image: United Utilities)

And even though it’s Windermere which sees most of the news headlines, we’re carrying out similar investment right across Cumbria.  Later this year we’ll find out if our regulator Ofwat has approved the next 5-year business plan we’ve outlined for Cumbria – which would see £914m invested in the county to reduce spills from 158 storm overflows and improve more than 200km of rivers.

We’re already making an early start at 16 sites across Cumbria, from Cartmel to Crosscanonby, to increase the treatment and storage capacity at these sites, limiting the chances of the works becoming overwhelmed during periods of heavy rainfall and reducing the number of times the storm overflows at these locations will operate.

This business plan is the most ambitious we have ever submitted, and my team and I will be building on the decades of innovations and improvements that have gone before.  I’ll be proud to play my part in leaving a positive environmental legacy for the next generation.