Portsmouth Water promises ‘extensive’ environmental consideration in Havant Thicket Reservoir project after eco campaigners launch legal advice campaign
A WATER company is reassuring residents that the environment is at the heart of its reservoir project at Havant Thicket.
Portsmouth Water has responded to concerned members of environmental group Stop the Chop!, which says it wants to ensure ‘due diligence’ is taken with the reservoir project.
The campaigners say they are seeking legal advice to establish whether there are grounds for a judicial review of the planning applications that were granted by Havant and East Hampshire Borough councils.
However, Portsmouth Water says that the south east is under serious water stress and new, sustainable sources of water are urgently needed to supply local communities.
Water companies are being asked to take less water from the internationally-rare chalk streams, River Test and River Itchen.
Bob Taylor, chief executive officer for Portsmouth Water, said: ‘It is urgent that water companies find alternative, sustainable sources of water, in order to reduce abstraction from these world-renowned habitats.
‘Havant Thicket Reservoir is our solution.
‘There are underground springs in Portsmouth Water’s supply area which provide plentiful, clean water.
‘In winter, much of this water is surplus to our requirements and flows out to sea so we can make better use of some of it by capturing it and storing it in the reservoir until it’s needed.
‘This will ensure a supply of clean, fresh water for local communities, without harming rare chalk streams.’
The company says it consulted extensively with local groups and stakeholders as part of the planning process, and continues to engage with them on a regular basis.
Mr Taylor added: ‘We have met with members of ‘Stop the Chop!’ to discuss their concerns and have explained that we are exploring opportunities to take forward their suggestions for the reservoir.
‘We have developed an extensive environmental mitigation and compensation package, working with the Environment Agency, Natural England, the county council’s ecologist and the Forestry Commission, which they support.
‘This will include planting and improving over 200 hectares of woodland and wood pasture, locating wildlife corridors around the perimeter of the site, creating a new wetland on the northern shore to support threatened bird species, improving local streams and launching a grant scheme to support environmental projects.
‘We are also looking at the potential to relocate some trees from the existing woodland and replanting them elsewhere.’