Sir David Attenborough leads celebrations at Abberton Reservoir

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough - Credit: Archant

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH officially marked the completion of Essex & Suffolk Water’s £150million Abberton Scheme at a celebratory event at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Abberton Reservoir visitor centre and nature reserve in June.

The water company, which owns Abberton Reservoir, has worked in partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust to enlarge the reservoir by 58%. The additional water will bolster supplies to south Essex and some boroughs in East London.

Abberton Reservoir is of international importance to wildlife, especially wildfowl. The enhancement project has made the site even better for birds by increasing the amount of shallow water for dabbling ducks, geese, herons, egrets and waders.

John Hall MBE, CEO of Essex Wildlife Trust, paid tribute to the water company: ‘Here, major construction has improved both water security for people and habitats for wildlife of international importance,’ he said.

More than 1,000 people, including hundreds of local residents, attended the day to enjoy an inspirational speech from Sir David and others from the trust and the water company.

Heidi Mottram OBE, CEO of Essex & Suffolk Water, said: ‘We are immensely proud of our partnership. Creating a reservoir with 60% more water available has secured supplies for years to come and enhanced a site of international importance, which is even better for wildlife now than it was before,’ she said.

Visitors also enjoyed guided walks, refreshments and countryside stalls.

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The final words rested with Sir David, who is president emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts. He said: ‘I can remember a time when nature conservation and development were seen to be in opposition — you either developed or conserved — and that led to confrontation. Here at Abberton Reservoir this is fundamentally, extraordinarily and wonderfully different. It is a blessing, a wonder and a great admiration to see what has been achieved by this partnership being celebrated.’