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Council encourages people to take part in Thames Water reservoir consultation

Published on 11 July 2024

Vale of White Horse District Council is encouraging its residents to give their views on Thames Water’s proposed reservoir for the district.

Thames Water has launched a public consultation on the proposed reservoir and the public have until 28 August to give their views – available here:

Plans for the controversial reservoir near Abingdon have again been criticised by local communities, with Vale of White Horse District Council urging water providers to consider alternative solutions more seriously. The reservoir is now even bigger than originally planned – at around 6.5 km2 – almost as big as Gatwick Airport and unprecedented in scale.

The council reaffirmed its objections to the reservoir in a formal letter to Thames Water after the water company submitted its revised Draft Water Resources Management Plan to the government.

The council argues that the plans fail to fully consider the long-term impacts to the local community and the environment, both during a decade of construction and the irreparable damage to the countryside.

Any reservoir would also come at the expense of significant carbon emissions which the council argues would impact the district’s ability to become carbon neutral by 2045.

Cllr Bethia Thomas, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “With public confidence in Thames Water at rock bottom – and the further news this week on the company’s significant financial challenges – it seems remarkable to me that it remains fixated on pushing ahead with this environmentally disastrous plan without properly exploring much more sensible and effective options. We remain opposed to these proposals and want to encourage residents to view the plans and give their feedback to Thames Water as well.

“Instead of sinking significant financial and carbon costs into a giant reservoir that dominates our countryside, water suppliers should be fast-tracking less disruptive alternatives by fixing leaks, helping us all to reduce our water consumption and by exploring the use of water transfers.

“We will be providing our feedback as part of this latest process, and we will continue to represent our residents and urge water providers, regulators and government to listen to local voices and reject these plans.”