A PUBLIC consultation on a new pumping station set to top up water levels at Roadford reservoir has raised more questions than answers.

Last week, a public consultation was held in Lifton consulting the local community about the proposal which seeks to install a new pumping station, at Gatherley on the River Tamar and 4km of new pipework. Representatives from South West Water and Kier Group briefed residents on the plans at a public event held at The Arundell on Thusday (October 19), explaining that the work was necessary to help address the growing supply risks affecting SWW’s Roadford supply area.

Barry Birch, stakeholder relations lead at South West Water explained that last year the water levels in the reservoir had dropped to around 10/15 per cent at its lowest point and are now only up to around 50-55 per cent and that topping up the reservoir would be essential for water resilience next year.

He said: “We want to bring more water from the Tamar into Roadford so that Roadford is topped up ready for next year.”

In August this year planning permission was granted by Devon County Council for the removal of 324m of hedgerow to allow for construction of the 4km pipeline.

Removal of the hedgerow will be carried out this month and pipeline construction works will commence in November.

Aside from providing attendees information about the plans, it gave a chance for residents to share their views about the proposal. The members of the community raised concerns about increased traffic in the area, and environmental fears such as water quality.

Lewdown resident, Paul Mincher voiced his concerns that the water would contaminate the reservoir, leading to the proliferation of algal blooms.

He said: “One of my concerns is that your are pumping dirty, silty water into Roadford. which is already increasingly eutrophic.”

These concerns were echoed by a other members of the public that demanded answers about water quality. The representatives assured concerned residents that they are looking at ways to minimised traffic and disruption.

Unfortunately, Tom Shenton from South West Water who is fronting the project was unable to attend due to a family emergency leaving many questions put forward to the team by concerned residents, unanswered. Many in the audience felt that the consultation irrelevant as the project and decisions made had already been given the go-ahead.

Paul reiterated this: “It’s too late to consult on a project which has largely been designed planned and we have very little influence. It’s a paper consultation, not a real consultation.

“There will be impacts on the Tamar, Roadford and the community.

“This consulation has raised more questions than answers.”

Another resident, Mike Wevill echoed Paul’s views and said :“We have no say whatsoever. We have severe reservations.”

It was agreed at the meeting that another consultation will be arranged.

A planning application for the permanent pumping station at Gatherley is being finalised, and, subject to permissions being granted, construction of will commence in spring 2024.