Nicholas Pearson Associates

Projects /
Blashford Lakes Water Treatment Works

Client: Wessex Water

Award: Greenleaf Award

Location: Blashford Lakes, New Forest, Hampshire

This was one of the first Environmental Impact Assessments undertaken in the UK.
Before the EU Directive of 1985 required EIA for major projects, some enlightened developers foresaw the need and advantages of EIA. As such, the Blashford Lakes Water Storage Scheme, represented a landmark in environmental awareness.  The focus on environmental design and land management plans, reflected Wessex's wish to ensure that environmental mitigation and enhancement progressed hand in hand with plans to provide security of supply and to increase water storage capacity.

The scheme involved the development of flooded gravel pits adjacent to the New Forest and the Avon Valley SSSI for water storage, treatment and supply. Our initial Environmental Assessment, undertaken in 1985, addressed issues of ecology, recreation and visual impact (for which photomontages were prepared). We provided Local Plan Inquiry representation and the first phase of the scheme became operational in 1990. An Environmental Statement was subsequently submitted in 1992 for a lakes extension which was to be developed in parallel with continued gravel extraction; this also received planning approval.

The environmental management of the lakes and their environs (an area of 55ha) continues. Management Plans cover diverse aspects of sailing, fishing, water-skiing and bird watching and promote the day-to-day vitality of this complex natural environment. Amidst all this, the water supply system goes about its business quietly and efficiently. Today the Lakes are designated under the EU Habitats Directive, demonstrating the success of the 1980s vision.