Council slams £1.2bn Oxfordshire reservoir plan

A local authority has said the reservoir will “harm permanently and irreversibly” the area

A local authority has opposed a plan to build a giant reservoir between East Hanney and Drayton, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, covering seven square kilometres (4.5 square miles).

Vale of White Horse District Council has “serious” concerns over the potential environmental impact of the reservoir proposal.

Issuing its response to the recent public consultation on the project, the authority highlighted the project’s detrimental impact on the environment and the district’s ambition to become a carbon-neutral area by 2045.

According to the council, the draft plan’s South East Strategic Reservoir Option (SESRO) should be eliminated and water companies and regulators should instead conduct further research into alternative water resource schemes, as well as prioritise repairing leaks and enhancing water efficiency.

The council claimed that the draft plan inadequately assessed supply and demand issues, overestimated future population figures, and failed to evaluate and prioritise all available options, such as transferring water from other regions or implementing recycling and desalination schemes.

According to Councillor Bethia Thomas, who leads the Vale of White Horse District Council, constructing a reservoir could result in permanent and irreversible damage to a vast area of the Vale countryside and potentially lead to a substantial increase in carbon emissions.

Councillor Thomas said: “We should be doing all we can to tackle the climate emergency and much more attention must be placed on the climate impact of this proposal.

“The current plan focuses on supply and providing more water. However, the priority should be on protecting this vital resource and using water more effectively; through fixing leaks, facilitating water recycling and ensuring that residents across the region can play an active and positive role in reducing their consumption.”

Make sure you check out the latest Net Hero Podcast episode:

Latest Podcast