Council probes Thames Water’s Oxfordshire reservoir plans

Residents’ interests come first - that’s set to be the resolute message from Oxfordshire County Council as it continues to scrutinise Thames Water’s plans for a new reservoir.

The council has concerns about the size and need for the proposed reservoir to the southwest of Abingdon, between Steventon, East Hanney and Marcham. A report to the council’s cabinet on November 20 sets out these concerns in full.

Further clarity required

Further clarity is sought from Thames Water on whether other potential sites have been fully assessed across the southeast region. Only when these details are provided in the form of a regional water resource plan for the south east, will the council be able to decide on whether to back the principle of having a reservoir at this location.

This is the second consultation held by Thames Water – the county council and others demanded earlier this year that a further consultation should take place and Thames Water agreed to this in the Summer.

Oxfordshire County Council had already responded to the first consultation outlining a list of concerns. Thames Water made a number of changes prior to the second consultation, including making commitments to reducing pipe leakage as requested by the county council.

Standing up for residents

John Disley, Oxfordshire County Council’s Infrastructure Strategy and Policy Manager, said: 

“There must be a careful balance between meeting the water needs of the South East and the more localised impacts of a reservoir on the environment and residents.

“The county council will work closely with Thames Water and partners, as well as the Vale of White Horse District Council. The interests of Oxfordshire residents must come first and we must protect the local environment. It’s our job to stand up for residents’ interests and our report to our cabinet proposes that we do just that.”