A Reservoir Journey

Tracey Viney has worked with Portsmouth Water for 11 years and played a pivotal role in shaping the proposed Havant Thicket reservoir. As the project takes off she looks back and shares her commitment to the environment and wildlife on the site:

“I joined the Havant Thicket Reservoir project in 2008 and I lead on everything related to environment and biodiversity. I’m passionate about ensuring we deliver a net biodiversity gain, as well as a reservoir with facilities the local community can be proud of and want to visit with their family and friends.

Since the public consultation in 2008 and publication of the outline plan for the reservoir in 2009 we’ve been working behind the scenes with the local planning authorities to safeguard the reservoir site and the pipeline route in the local plan.

We’ve also been working with stakeholders, such as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and regulators, such as Natural England, to develop an environmental mitigation strategy to ensure that when the reservoir is built there is more biodiversity benefit than before. Our work is going well and has included:

  • Updating the ecological survey work in 2018 to make sure we understand all the habitats and species at the site. You may have seen roof felt mats placed along field and path edges to monitor for reptiles.
  • Working with the Forestry Commission and Hampshire County Council to identify how we can enhance the habitats in the adjacent woodland areas.
  • Taking advice from wetland specialists including Natural England and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to identify the key objectives for the new wetland we plan to create.

Planting trees to create new habitats as early as possible was an important part of our strategy. It was great that in February, with support from Natural England and the ecologist from Havant Borough Council, we were able to agree a landscape strategy for a new woodland corridor and hedgerow enhancements on the east side of the site near Rowlands Castle.

After 10 years working on the project it was fantastic to start planting trees with help from local volunteers and schoolchildren.

We also removed some small saplings from The Avenue woodland, planted them in compostable pots and gave them to local school children from Warren Park School to look after for us. Later these trees will be planted by the youngsters into new habitats being created around the reservoir.

And later this year, we’ll be working with our ecologists and landscape architect to identify an appropriate planting and habitat creation strategy for the west side of the reservoir site. If this can be agreed with Natural England and the local councils, we hope to be planting even more trees next winter!

Tracey Viney
Environment & Biodiversity Specialist

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