MAJOR works are about to begin to finally decommission a North Yorkshire reservoir.

Yorkshire Water is to spend £1.3m on the project at the Oakdale reservoir at Osmotherley near Northallerton.

The reservoir was created in the 19th-century to help drinking water supplies for the region but is no longer needed and bringing it up to modern standards would be too expensive.

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However the area, which is popular with walkers, will remain as a leisure asset for the local community.

During the work the overflow weir level will be significantly lowered by excavating a hole through the embankment and constructing a new raw water channel through the centre.

After the works are complete, a reduced body of water will remain and the site will be then landscaped and the existing spillway will be backfilled.

The work is required to comply with the Reservoir Safety Act 1975 and is part of a bigger £60m programme of work being carried out by Yorkshire Water at a number of reservoirs.

Engineering specialists, Mott MacDonald Bentley, will begin work on March 31 and it will be carried out in two stages to avoid working during the shooting season.

The first stage will end on August 12 and then work will recommence on February 9 next year and carry on until August.

Yorkshire Water own and manage about 120 reservoirs, many of which were built in the 19th-century and now present significant maintenance and repair challenges.

Project manager Dave Ellis said: “This is a large project and we’d like to thank residents and visitors in advance for their patience while we carry out this work.”

He added: “The Cleveland Way National Trail that runs alongside Oakdale upper reservoir will not be affected.

“There may be increased traffic volumes in the area for the duration of the works but this will be kept to a minimum through Osmotherley.”

He went on to assure residents in the area that every effort would be made to avoid local disruption.

The work schedule is dependent on weather conditions but Yorkshire Water has pledged to keep residents updated.