Gillian received the below update Portsmouth Water
We are writing to share an update about potential enhanced future uses of Havant Thicket Reservoir, known as the proposed Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project.
Regular progress reports on these proposals have been shared via our reservoir stakeholder advisory group meetings and our wider stakeholder communications, with a range of community representatives providing their feedback.
It is important to note that any enhanced future uses of the reservoir are separate to the current, approved reservoir scheme which was granted formal planning permission in late 2021, and which is now being delivered. These potential future proposals would be subject to further consultation and planning permissions.
In terms of the Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project, Southern Water has been granted permission from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to take the scheme through the Development Consent Order consenting regime, rather than the Town and Country Planning Act route (whereby a planning application would be determined by the relevant council or councils as the local planning authority or authorities).
Development Consent Order (DCO) applications are submitted for large-scale infrastructure developments, categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Such applications are made to the Planning Inspectorate which will consider each and make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State, who then decides whether to approve or reject an application.
Portsmouth Water continues to work in partnership with Southern Water on Havant Thicket Reservoir and is confident that the consultation and engagement process involved via DCO will be just as rigorous, if not more so, than if the application went via the Town and Country Planning Act route.
The DCO process is built around significant consultation and engagement and resolving as many issues as possible before an application is submitted, ensuring local communities and other interested parties have opportunities to shape the proposals as they are developed. Southern Water would have to demonstrate how this obligation has been met when submitting a DCO application - failure to meet the ‘adequacy of consultation’ test means the application would not be accepted for consideration, when it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
Portsmouth Water remains committed to ensuring that all the environmental and community commitments made in the original plans for Havant Thicket Reservoir, and which received formal planning permission in 2021, are maintained if Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project proposals were to go ahead. We can reassure you that we will not support a scheme which fails to keep to these commitments.