Sir David Attenborough to open reservoir expansion at Abberton Reservoir on June 3

Essex Wildlife Trust's visitor and nature reserve at Abberton Reservoir,near Colchester.

Essex Wildlife Trust's visitor and nature reserve at Abberton Reservoir,near Colchester. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is to officially open a north Essex reservoir which has had 15 billion litres of water added to it as part of a £150million project.

Sir David Attenborough. Photo: David Parry/PA Wire

Sir David Attenborough. Photo: David Parry/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A special event is scheduled to take place on June 3 at Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, and will include a speech by Sir David on his thoughts following a tour of the site.

Essex & Suffolk Water, part of Northumbrian Water Group, recently announced an extra 15 billion litres of water had filled the reservoir to its new full capacity of 41 billion litres.

Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Essex & Suffolk Water, said: “We’re really pleased to be welcoming such a distinguished guest as Sir David Attenborough to help us celebrate the Abberton Reservoir expansion scheme.

“We’ll also be celebrating with the local community who will benefit from this expansion along with the wider Essex community.”

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The official opening event will take place at the visitor centre, run in partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust, and will be open to ticket-holders only.

“We all know Essex is one of the driest parts of the country, so to be able to secure water supplies for many, many years to come with this fantastic project is a real celebration and something we’re all looking forward to,” Ms Mottram added.

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Construction work on the £150m project began in 2010 and the major works were completed last year.

The reservoir has been enlarged by 58% and the additional water will bolster supplies to Essex and also London boroughs.

Abberton Reservoir is internationally recognised as being important for wildlife and wildfowl. The enhancement project has increased the amount of shallow water habitat, which is crucial for birds such as such as shoveler and teal dabbling ducks.

John Devall, water director for Essex & Suffolk Water, said: “The reservoir is living proof that we can plan and complete a major water supply project and actually protect and enhance the natural environment at the same time.

“We’re increasing biodiversity and Sir David Attenborough is the perfect person to be able to invite and showcase this approach.”

John Hall, chief executive of Essex Wildlife Trust, said Essex & Suffolk Water had been working closely with the trust and many others on the project.

He added the company had looked after the interests of the “superb wildlife” during construction, making sure the final habitats have “increased in both size and quality”.

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