Cessation of Natural (Wild Brine) Pumping

In the late 1960’s almost 4 million gallons of brine was supplied to the salt industry from Holford, this equated to some 88% of the total brine used in industry being sourced by controlled pumping. However, natural pumping, with its accompanying subsidence, still occurred elsewhere, albeit in diminishing quantities.  In September 1969, Cheshire County Council published a key document, “Salt: a policy for the control of salt extraction in Cheshire”.  This document initiated specific planning policy for the control of subsidence from brine pumping in the Compensation District by the gradual cessation of natural pumping and no renewals of planning permission for anything other than controlled pumping operations.

In the early 1980’s a second controlled pumping brinefield was developed by British Salt at Hill Top Farm, Warmingham near Middlewich. Since the mid-1980s almost all the brine used for industrial and culinary purposes was supplied from the Holford and Warmingham controlled pumping operations.  The only natural brine pumping company which survived was the New Cheshire Salt Works, located at Wincham near Northwich.  The superior quality of brine sourced by natural pumping enabled the facility to continue to operate supplying brine for medical purposes.  The works, which was latterly owned by British Salt, finally ceased pumping at the end of June 2006, and the majority of the site has been redeveloped.