Anglian Water - Fens Reservoir
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Update – 15 March 2023

Anglian Water shares feedback on new reservoir plans to secure future water supplies.

Environment and recreation highlighted as key themes in feedback on proposed reservoir in the Fens.

Anglian Water and Cambridge Water have this week published a summary of the feedback received following their first phase of consultation on the proposed new reservoir in the Fens that will secure water supply to customers for future generations. It can be viewed online at: www.fensreservoir.co.uk/documents/

Feedback received was in response to the water companies’ first phase of consultation launched in Autumn 2022, during which the community and wider stakeholders were asked for their views on what the reservoir could deliver to help shape the design of the reservoir.

This was the first of a minimum of three phases of consultation and this early feedback, together with the commencement of environmental surveys and assessments, will help to develop design proposals for the reservoir.

Dr Geoff Darch, Head of Supply Demand Strategy for Anglian Water said:

"After the driest February in more than 60 years in the East of England, it’s clear that we can expect more extreme weather as our climate continues to change. This will put even more pressure on our region’s water resources meaning that we need to plan now for a future with more people and less rainfall.

"Our region receives a third less rainfall than average, so we’re well versed in preparing for periods of prolonged dry weather and carefully managing our resources to ensure we can meet demand while leaving plenty in the environment for nature to thrive. That’s why projects like this are so critical for the future, as without taking this action now, our region’s facing a huge water deficit.

"More than 500 people attended community and online events for the reservoir which is proposed to be located north of Chatteris and close to the villages of Doddington and Wimblington, which could supply enough water for a quarter of a million homes. Since the consultation closed the companies have been considering all feedback to understand what the community and stakeholders would like to see from the proposals.

Feedback also asked for the surrounding environment, including the Ouse Washes, to be carefully considered.

Anglian Water and Cambridge Water also asked for feedback on the area identified for the reservoir, the pink area (for the proposed reservoir and its embankments) and grey area (for supporting infrastructure, construction and additional measures).

Anglian Water and Cambridge Water received 346 feedback submissions from people sharing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas on what the reservoir could bring. Alongside public feedback, local authorities, specialist organisations, and representatives from the agricultural community also responded to the consultation.

People are enthusiastic about the possibility of walking and cycling routes, with access possible from local villages to allow communities to benefit from the reservoir. They also want to see measures that support nature and biodiversity, and help preserve or enhance exiting waterways.

Respondents also sought reassurance that any potential impacts will be carefully considered. This included potential effects on the surrounding area and villages, including visual effects and impacts on local roads. People also said business and property owners potentially affected by the proposals should continue to be important in the water companies’ plans.

The feedback is now being used to inform the development of the project, ahead of a second consultation in 2024.

Dr Geoff Darch, added:

"We want to thank everyone for the feedback they submitted as part of our first phase of consultation. It is vital communities engage with us and we listen to them and their reactions to our proposals.

"We do understand the effect on those impacted by our proposals, particularly homeowners and landowners. We are working with these individuals and businesses to try and keep impacts as minimal as possible, and will continue working with them as the project progresses.

"The reservoir in the Fens forms a vital part of our plan to protect our region’s water supply for years to come. Our vision for this project goes beyond building a reservoir – we want to create a place where water, people and nature come together.

"It’s clear people share this view and are excited by the potential of creating a place for local communities and visitors to enjoy and explore, and for nature to thrive.

"You also told us that the design of the reservoir will be very important and should help to ensure positive outcomes for the local community. We’re keen to look at opportunities for access to the reservoir from Chatteris, Doddington, Wimblington, and other villages, for those travelling by foot, cycle or car.

Natalie Akroyd, Head of Water Strategy and Environment for Cambridge Water, said:

"We’re grateful to everyone who took part in our first phase of consultation, and we are looking forward to engaging with the local community more as the project develops.

"Throughout 2023, our team will be conducting surveys of the proposed site to help inform our environmental assessments of the project. We’re working closely with landowners to agree access for surveys and answer ongoing questions about what our plans mean for property and businesses.

"Over the course of the year we’ll develop a design of the reservoir, adding detail to potential features and how we propose to use the land in the pink and grey areas we’ve identified. This includes how it will be accessed, supporting infrastructure, and recreational opportunities.

"We’re looking forward to sharing more details in the next consultation in 2024."

The feedback summary can be found on the project website www.fensreservoir.co.uk, alongside an FAQ and other information materials.

The project email info@fensreservoir.co.uk and freephone 0800 915 4292 continue to be available if people would like to get in touch. You can also contact the freepost address: Freepost Fens Reservoir.

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Freephone: 0800 915 2492

Email: info@fensreservoir.co.uk

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