Plans for a huge reservoir the size of 2,500 football pitches in Abingdon have resurfaced.

On Tuesday, water regulator Ofwat published documents revealing plans for reservoirs across England in a bid to tackle the effects of climate change.

The Abingdon reservoir would serve water to London and the Midlands.

The plans for the reservoir suggest it would cover the equivalent of 2,500 football pitches, making for the biggest stretch of open water in southern England.

It would be half the size of Windermere and sit behind huge embankments, taller than electricity pylons.

But campaigners from Group Against Abingdon Reservoir have been opposing the plans for a reservoir in Abingdon since 1996, when plans were first revealed.

Derek Stork from GARD said: “It will destroy a lot of biodiversity and habitat. It is four square miles of water plus the embankments around it makes quite a large area. It is basically a tank with 30m high walls, which tower above surrounding housing.”

He added: “It will take 10 years to build, there will be noise, pollution, 24-hour lights and traffic dislocation in the area. For the period of construction it will make life horrendous.

“Once it is built we believe it will be an eyesore, it will destroy the nature of the place and its 24-hour water treatment plan will be intrusive.”

The industry regulator Ofwat has set aside £500million to allow water companies to explore a series of schemes to help maintain supplies in future decades.

These aim to capture and store more water during the winter and then by creating grids, using canals and pipelines, water companies will be able to transfer supplies to areas at risk of drought.

Gard argues the Abingdon site it is not suitable as it is in an an area with little rainfall. The group has suggested alternative solutions such as bulk transfer of raw water from River Severn to the River Thames, increased water re-use in the London area, more water desalination plants in the Thames and, reducing Thames Water’s leakage rate.