Havant Thicket Reservoir gets green light

The first major new reservoir in the UK for decades has been given the go ahead by councillors in Hampshire.

Last night, East Hampshire District Council’s Planning Committee resolved to grant planning permission for Havant Thicket Reservoir near Havant – an environmentally-led scheme which will secure vital water supplies for the future, while protecting world-renowned chalk streams.

The decision comes after elected members in neighbouring Havant Borough gave their support to Portsmouth Water’s reservoir proposals last week, along with plans for an associated pipeline.

The next step is for legal commitments to be finalised with the local authorities, before full planning permission is granted, potentially this summer. The reservoir is due to be completed and operational by 2029.

Bob Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Portsmouth Water, said: “It is great news that both Havant Borough and East Hampshire District’s planning committees have resolved to grant permission for our reservoir proposals – recognising the growing public need for reliable and resilient water resources and our ambitions and commitment to support the environment and communities.”

“As well as securing much-needed future water supplies, Havant Thicket Reservoir will help safeguard the River Itchen and River Test, two of Hampshire’s rare and world-famous chalk streams, by enabling less water to be taken from them. It will also create a new green leisure hub for people and wildlife.”

“I would like to thank the councils for their support on this vitally important scheme and we’re also very grateful to local people and community representatives for their strong backing and valuable feedback over a number of years, which have helped shape the plans and our approach in many areas.”

Mr Taylor added: “As the nature of the existing site will change, we’ve worked with environmental regulators to create an extensive programme to support the environment on and around the site. This includes the creation and improvement of around 200 hectares of woodland and pasture to support wildlife, and the creation of a 10-hectare wetland on the reservoir’s northern shore, which will be a major boost for threatened bird species.”

“We remain committed to working with communities to make the very most of the reservoir’s potential to improve the lives of local people in particular – including opportunities for accessible leisure, education, sharing skills, creating jobs and supporting the local economy.”