Mott MacDonald appointed to deliver planning for major UK water resilience project

Mott MacDonald and Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd have been appointed to secure planning permission for a water transfer scheme designed to help safeguard England’s water supply.

Developed by Affinity Water and Severn Trent Water, with support from the Canal & River Trust, the proposal will see the Grand Union Canal upgraded to allow up to 115M litres per day of treated wastewater to be transported from the Midlands to the Southeast. Water will then be abstracted from the canal and treated for public water supply in the south east.

Mott MacDonald will partner with consultancy Adams Hendry to lead the delivery of the Development Consent Order (DCO), a statutory instrument for the granting of planning permission for major infrastructure projects in the UK. The team will help to secure the necessary planning and environmental consents, engage with stakeholders, and manage consultation with statutory bodies to ensure proposals conserve and enhance the natural environment.

Water in the UK may appear plentiful, but the threat of shortage in the coming decades, especially in the south and east of England, is real. Climate change, population growth, environmental pressures and the depletion of existing water sources mean that without concerted action, demand will outstrip supply within 20 years.

Five regional groups (Water Resources North, West, East, South East, and West Country) have been formed in response, made up of neighbouring water companies and major users of water in each region. These regional groups are producing plans for making their region more water resilient, identifying options that provide the best value to customers, society and the environment. Additionally, the water resource projects of greatest national importance –new reservoirs, bulk water transfers and wastewater treatment and reuse schemes – have been designated strategic resource options (SROs).

“We’re proud to be working with the water sector across the country to safeguard England’s water future,” said Sarah Henderson, Mott MacDonald’s UK town planning team leader.

“With a relative abundance of water in the north and west of England compared to the south and east, water transfers will form an important part of making England’s water supply resilient. Canals provide a good opportunity to make use of existing infrastructure for relatively light economic and environmental impact.”

Sarah continued: “With Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd, we have created a specialist project team. Affinity Water, Severn Trent Water and the Canal & River Trust will have access to a diverse range of bespoke planning, environmental, stakeholder and land advisory services. Our team has invaluable DCO experience, reinforcing the importance of consenting to successful project delivery. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with Affinity Water, Severn Trent Water and the Canal & River Trust to help deliver this critically important scheme.”

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