July 1, 2008

Thames Water Stalls Reservoir Application

By Reeds, Jon

Thames Water has deferred seeking permission for a reservoir in Oxfordshire while it consults on its water resource management plan, but said the project is a priority. The plan considers water resources and demand for 2010-35. It says while the company's much- criticised leakage rate can be cut and tariffs and metering can save further water, it will still need the 267 megalitres that the reservoir would supply.

"Our research shows that the pressures of population growth, climate change and increased consumption will put our supplies under severe stress," said chief executive David Owens. "New resources such as the reservoir proposed near Abingdon will be essential."

The application has been deferred after talks with the Environment Agency, which said Thames Water must test its proposals in the plan consultation. Vale of White Horse Council said it still awaits answers to queries it made about the reservoir in 2006 but urged those consulted to comment.

"If the plan is approved then we can take it that the reservoir will be, because Thames Water says the reservoir is necessary to meet future water demand in Oxfordshire, Swindon and London," said council reservoir advisory group chairman Tony de Vere. But the Campaign to Protect Rural England's Oxfordshire branch said it would continue to oppose the scheme.

Thames Water plans to seek approval for the reservoir in 2010 via a compulsory works order application. However, under the Planning Bill the 150 million m^sup 3^ reservoir would be nationally significant and fall under the infrastructure planning commission's remit.

Oxfordshire: scheme awaiting plan consultation results

Copyright Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. May 16, 2008

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