Portsmouth Water is set to commence the first stage of work on Havant Thicket Reservoir after being given the go-ahead by planning authorities.
The company’s CEO, Bob Taylor, is assuring residents that it will be ‘first and foremost an environmentally-led project’.
Tree removal activities will start this month, and ecologists with appropriate licences will be on site while this work takes place.
Specialist climbers will be inspecting individual trees to ensure they are free of wildlife before any felling work begins.
Members of the Havant Thicket Project team are working closely with local groups to relocate trees from the Avenue and will be replanting these locally.
For health and safety reasons, areas of the site will be closed to the public during this time.
Public footpaths and bridleways will remain open where it is safe to do so, including the bridleway which runs from east to west across the centre of the site.
Access points along Well Meadow will also remain open.
Bob Taylor, Portsmouth Water’s chief executive, said: ‘I am delighted to announce that full, formal planning permission has now been granted for Havant Thicket Reservoir.
‘Its purpose is to provide a new sustainable source of water, thereby reducing abstraction from world-renowned chalk streams in Hampshire.
‘We appreciate there are understandably some concerns around the loss of ancient woodland.
‘I would like to reassure residents that Portsmouth Water has put significant measures in place to protect wildlife on site and to compensate the area for this loss.
‘We have already planted thousands of trees and more than 200 hectares of woodland and wood pasture planting and enhancements are planned.
‘We are doing everything possible to minimise noise and disruption to local people while these works take place.’
Portsmouth Water has been working with specialist ecologists to create new habitats in Havant Thicket and the surrounding woodland.
So far, 200 bat boxes and more than 300 dormice boxes have been installed, relocating nearly 200 dormice boxes from the Avenue.
The company is also is planting and improving more than 200 hectares of woodland and wood pasture locally.