OXFORDSHIRE residents are again being urged to have their say on plans for building a reservoir the size of Heathrow Airport near Abingdon.

The Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) is urging the public to register their opposition to the proposal in a consultation with Affinity Water, which closes on Friday, April 26.

The planned reservoir – for Steventon, Drayton and the Hanneys – has long faced criticism, with many, including local MPs, calling for a second public inquiry into the proposal.

READ MORE: Abingdon reservoir: New inquiry needed 'now', Parliament told

Following a consultation with Thames Water last autumn, Affinity is also consulting on the reservoir, which Gard says is 'entirely unnecessary' and is 'likely to cause more severe flooding'.

But Affinity says its plan protects the environment and water supply.

Spokesperson Nigel Beaven said: “Our revised Water Resources Management Plan sets out how we plan to deliver a reliable, resilient, efficient and affordable water supply to customers from 2020 to 2080, whilst protecting the environment.

ALSO READ: Abingdon reservoir: Second Public Inquiry pressure mounts on Thames

“The future security of water resources is uncertain. Our Plan allows us to adapt to these uncertainties and ensures for the timely delivery of appropriate solutions. We are proposing an approach that focuses on demand management and long-term regional strategic solutions.”

But GARD chairman Derek Stork said: “The need for a reservoir was examined in 2011, and a Public Inquiry rejected Thames Water’s reservoir proposals out of hand. To try and resurrect an even larger reservoir eight years later, in a plan that doesn’t even acknowledge the outcome of the Public Inquiry, or address many of its issues, is an insult to the general public, residents and the planning process.

"Alternative schemes exist to bring new water in from outside the region, where it is plentiful, and to increase water reuse. Our studies show these to be cheaper and more resistant to local drought and long-term climate change."

READ AGAIN: Reservoir consultation: Thames Water criticised for 'rushed' approach

He continued: “Affinity Water’s proposal is extremely costly, will cause significant environmental damage and, ultimately, leave supplies vulnerable. We have proposed alternatives that ensure future supplies and also solve the urgent issue of chalk stream over-abstraction. These solutions can be delivered much sooner than the reservoir, but wouldn’t make as much money for Affinity and Thames Water shareholders.

“We urge everyone to register their opposition to the reservoir before it’s too late.”

Thames Water did not comment as it felt the points GARD raised “ are all things we’ve responded to a number of times before.”

Its water resources management plan, of which the reservoir is just one element, was submitted to the government last week.

READ AGAIN: Thames Water announces second consultation on Abingdon reservoir

People can respond to the Affinity plan online by visiting https://stakeholder.affinitywater.co.uk/have-your-say.aspx