The chairman of Manx Utilities says that he hopes work on a sewage plant for Laxey and Baldrine can start soon.

Yesterday, plans were announced to build a plant in the Axnfell plantation.

Tim Crookall MHK said: ‘I would like to thank our colleagues at the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture, for supporting the progression of a regional sewage treatment site for Garff, and for the community’s patience.

‘Finally, we can get on with delivering a modern sewage treatment process for Garff as outlined in the island Plan and ultimately cease the pumping of raw sewage to sea on the coasts of our island.’

Manx Utilities’ plan to build in the Axnfell Plantation comes after a long saga of delays and thwarted plans.

The state-owned authority had planned to build a treatment works near Laxey harbour but it failed to win planning approval.

Since then more than 50 areas have been considered by Manx Utilities.

Currently, millions of litres of sewage are pumped into Laxey Bay every day.

A campaign in and around Laxey saw people demanding that sewage be pumped and join pipelines to the treatment plant that deals with most of the island’s sewage at Meary Veg, Santon. The situation mirrors one in the west of the island where Manx Utilities’ plans for a plant at Glenfaba House near the Raggatt, south of Peel and in the parish of Patrick, were stymied.

The authority lost its planning application there too.

It has now drawn up plans to build a plant for the west on a strip of land between the river Neb and Glenfaba Road.

Both that and the new Axnfell project will need to go through the planning process from scratch – so it could be years before either is built.

The treatment process at Axnfell and the provision of ultraviolet treatment at the Cairn for storm flows will not prevent the ‘excellent’ bathing water quality standard from being achieved in Laxey.

A turbine, housed on the effluent pipeline at the Cairn site, will enable a significant amount of the electricity used to pump sewage up to the Axnfell site to be recovered and will reduce the carbon footprint of the scheme.

The supplier of water, electricity and sewage service had an ‘engagement meeting’ with the clerk of Garff Commissioners on Friday to update them on the situation.

The land, situated in the northeastern section of Axnfell Plantation, is one of the island’s many managed sites where tree-felling happens often and ownership will be handed over to MU by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

A spokesperson for Manx Utilities said: ‘The site footprint has been minimised to reduce visible and environmental impacts, whilst still allowing space for potential future expansion.’

Manx Utilities says that the Garff sewage treatment plant will be ‘operational by the first quarter of 2026’.

Before the submission of the application Manx Utilities will be hosting a public exhibition event, to allow the community to comment on the proposals.

The sewage works project was going to jeopardise the plans for the Lonan All Saints’ Church if the new plant was close.

Stewart Clague, a Garff commissioner, wants to convert the former church into a community hall.

He said: ‘If this plan goes ahead, I’m afraid we most probably won’t be going ahead with the church plans as it will not be fair to the local community.’

The spokesperson for Manx Utilities said: ‘The location is not near All Saints Church Community Project.’

Manx Utilities confirmed that further details of pipeline routes and intermediate pumping station locations would be released ‘in due course’ following environmental appraisals and discussions between Manx Utilities and interested parties.

As we reported yesterday, Garff Commissioners are to hold an emergency general public meeting about the proposal tonight at 7pm at their office on New Road, in Laxey.