Preparations are underway to start the next East Lancashire stage of a £1 billion project to upgrade the pipeline which supplies water from the Lake District to the county and Greater Manchester.

Hyndburn councillors are due to debate a planning application from United Utilities for the section of the work on the deteriorating 70-plus-year-old Haweswater Aqueduct in their borough.

A planning officer's report recommends approval of the scheme as essential to keeping water flowing through the 110-kilometre pipeline.

In a consultation exercise, 23 households and Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe raised concerns over noise, disturbance, safety and traffic on local roads.

The Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme represents one of the largest UK investments in public water supply infrastructure in the last 50 years.

Two other parts of the scheme - the Bowland and Marl Hill sections - cut through Ribble Valley borough.

The report to Tuesday's meeting concerns the proposed work from land off Bolton Avenue, Huncoat, to land near Pewitt Hall Farm, Back Lane, Accrington.

It says: "The Haweswater Aqueduct directly supplies treated drinking water to large parts of Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

"A large proportion of households and businesses in Hyndburn also receive their drinking water from the aqueduct.

"The existing aqueduct was constructed in the period between 1933 and 1955 and recent exploratory investigations have revealed that its structural condition is deteriorating and that it now needs to be upgraded in order to safeguard both the long-term continuity of that supply and the quality of that drinking water provision.

"This planning application is for the proposed Haslingden and Walmersley section within Hyndburn.

"The application is somewhat unusual in that the submitted application site encompasses all of the route of the proposed new underground aqueduct, which is from the Rossendale boundary in the very south of the borough to the proposed new aqueduct reception site at Bolton Avenue, Huncoat, with temporary working areas to allow for the necessary preparatory mine grouting works being proposed off Plantation Road, on higher ground to the east of Accrington.

"Notwithstanding the underground tunnelling works that will extend for 4.4km in a southerly direction from Huncoat to Rossendale, there are two main areas of development in Hyndburn: Bolton Avenue Works and Plantation Road Works.

"Above-ground temporary construction compounds are required to facilitate the construction works and due to the complexity of the proposed aqueduct tunnelling operations these temporary arrangements will potentially be ongoing for about four years.

"Once the essential construction works have been completed it is intended that all of the temporary working areas will be subject to high-quality landscape and habitat restoration schemes.

"In conclusion it is considered that these significant development proposals are somewhat unusual in that there are no objections whatsoever to the upgrading of this important piece of regional water supply infrastructure.

"Concerns have been raised regarding the localised impacts of the necessary construction works but it is considered that the discernable impacts will only be temporarily experienced.

"The proposed package of compensatory provision and environmental net gains will also ensure that there is a positive long term local legacy."