MPs continue to call out the proposed Abingdon reservoir over its lack of transparency and say Thames Water “can’t behave as though it’s inevitable.”

The proposed Abingdon Reservoir would cover farmland between Steventon, East Hanney and Drayton. It is being suggested as one of several options to meet future water shortfalls across the region, which are predicted to be as much as 1.1 billion litres a day by 2040.

If given the go-ahead, the reservoir would be up to 15m high on a slope with a width of between 300 and 500m.

Oxford Mail:

David Johnston Conservative MP for Wantage and Didcot spoke at Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday and raised his concerns about the Abingdon reservoir.

In Parliament Mr Johnston said: “For over two decades, Thames Water has been trying to build a reservoir in my constituency.”

Oxford Mail:

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He added: “This has been a shadow over the local community, who don’t think they’ve proven the need for this proposal. Does my right honourable friend agree that if a company seeks to do something like this it has to show why it’s needed, why it’s better that the alternatives, and what the environmental impact will be. They can’t behave as though it’s inevitable, whether the local community want it or not?”

Oxford Mail:

This comes as Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has secured a Westminster Hall debate on the proposed Abingdon reservoir on March 16.

Ms Moran has also tabled a Parliamentary Question, calling on DEFRA to ensure that alternative options for water supply, such as the Severn Thames Transfer project, are properly considered within the scrutiny process.

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Ms Moran said: “I have serious concerns about the planned Abingdon reservoir. There is a worrying lack of transparency in these plans, which is incredibly damaging to local democratic input surrounding them.

“I would prefer the amount of money and effort which is going into the proposed reservoir to instead be focussed on eradicating sewage pollution in our rivers.”

Other options proposed instead of a reservoir include the transfer of water from other parts of the country and more recycling of waste water.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We recognise there are local concerns about the potential development of a new reservoir, and want to continue our ongoing dialogue with stakeholders including councillors, MPs and the wider community to address these; alongside discussing the long term benefits a new development could bring including job and skill creation, recreational opportunities like water sports, angling, cycling and walking, and improved biodiversity and flood defences to the local community.”

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