Work to start this October on Havant Thicket Reservoir

Havant Thicket Reservoir has been given the go-ahead by planning authorities, with Portsmouth Water starting the first stage of work this October 2021.

The landmark project is designed to protect internationally-rare chalk streams in Hampshire, by providing an alternative, sustainable source of water for the South East. It is being developed by Portsmouth Water in partnership with Southern Water, who are funding the project.

The first stage of work will involve tree removal activities. These will start in October 2021 with the potential to continue into November, depending on weather conditions. Some further work may be required in 2022.

The timing of this work will enable Portsmouth Water to carry out the required tasks in as environmentally a sensitive way as possible, for example, by avoiding bird nesting season.

Portsmouth Water is taking significant measures to ensure wildlife is not harmed and that animals will not be present during construction works. Ecologists will be on site when the tree removal work takes place and only ecologists with appropriate licences will be involved.

Specialist climbers will be inspecting individual trees to ensure they are free of wildlife before any felling work begins.

Portsmouth Water has been working with specialist ecologists to create new habitats in Havant Thicket and the surrounding woodland. So far, Portsmouth Water has installed 200 bat boxes and more than 300 dormice boxes, relocating nearly 200 dormice boxes from the Avenue.

In addition, Portsmouth Water is planting and improving more than 200 hectares of woodland and wood pasture locally.

The water company has already planted 6,000 new trees and is creating new wildlife corridors along the site boundaries.

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.

Signs will be in place to make clear which areas are off limits and anyone visiting the site is advised to keep to the designated paths and read the signs carefully.

Timber is due to be removed from site via the Forestry England owned track on Manor Lodge Road, Rowlands Castle. This removal of timber from site could last up to three months and is due to finish by December 2021.

Bob Taylor, Chief Executive Officer for Portsmouth Water, said: “I am delighted to announce that full, formal planning permission has now been granted for Havant Thicket Reservoir.

“Havant Thicket Reservoir is first and foremost an environmentally-led project. 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. However, if you have concerns, I would urge you to reach out to Portsmouth Water using the contact details below. Myself, or one of the Project Team, will always be willing to answer your questions.”

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Contact Portsmouth Water with any questions or concerns by calling 023 9249 9888 or emailing us at: [email protected].