Sustainability

Our local environment

Protecting our local environment

Protecting our local environment

Our environmental responsibility

As a major land owner, our activities can have a substantial impact on the habitats in our region. We have a significant role to play in protecting and creating a more sustainable environment.

Our environmental policy sets out how we will make improvements to biodiversity in our region.

 

Protecting biodiversity

 

 

Our targets

We have committed to improving biodiversity on Sites of Special Scientific Interest by 75 hectares by 2020.

By 2025 we will expand our enhancement activities to improve either 1090 hectares of land, or 1090 km of rivers, for biodiversity.

These activities can take place on Severn Trent owned land, Sites of Special Scientific Interest that we own, and land owned by third parties.

All improvements to Sites of Special Scientific Interest are independently checked and verified by Natural England. Other enhancement measures will be checked and verified by either a Wildlife Trust, Natural England or another recognised environmental organisation.

By 2030 we will plant 1.3 million trees, supporting our triple carbon pledge.

 

Our approach to protecting and promoting biodiversity

Our research has shown that our customers support an increase in biodiversity enhancement activity, so we’ve created a Biodiversity Outcome Delivery Incentive as part of our 2020 to 2025 business plan.

This gives us the opportunity to consult with key stakeholders and develop strategic partnerships, like the relationships we already have with organisations such as Natural England, show environmental leadership and innovate in the way we protect and enhance biodiversity.

 

Our environmental projects

 

 

Regulatory considerations for biodiversity

Section 40 of the Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act places a duty to conserve biodiversity on public authorities in England. That means we have a duty to conserve biodiversity as part of our policy or decision making.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs in August 2011, Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services provides a comprehensive picture of how to implement the country’s international commitments.

It sets out the strategic direction for biodiversity policy for the decade to 2020 on land, in lakes, rivers and at sea. Through our own biodiversity strategy, we support DEFRA’s mission “to halt overall biodiversity loss, support healthy well-functioning ecosystems and establish coherent ecological networks, with more and better places for nature for the benefit of wildlife and people.”

Catchment management

We work with landowners to reduce pollution of the water cycle through agriculture.

The Water Framework Directive

Through catchment management, supply outages due to water quality issues can be reduced. This can also help to deliver Water Framework Directive benefits water framework directive is a European Commission directive that has set an objective to bring every river up to good ecological status by 2027. Catchment management activities can help to achieve this by improving the quality of surface water run off that rivers receive.

 

Saving money and protecting the environment

 

 

Priority catchments

Through extensive risk mapping, catchment walkovers and data analysis, we have identified areas where water quality is especially sensitive to how the land and crops are managed. We refer to these as our priority catchments.

Priority catchments provide a focus for our support, each with an expert agricultural advisor to build relationships with farmers and provide guidance on how to bring maximum benefit to the environment and farm.

We’re currently working in 44 priority catchments –14 surface water catchments and 30 groundwater catchments.

 

 

 

Innovating to improve water quality

Not all of our catchment work is just about drinking water quality, we’re also exploring how our work with farmers might benefit catchments impacted by waste water activities. We’ve been trialling two innovative approaches to tackling these issues

Phosphate socks

Phosphate socks are large tubular mesh structures, filled with different ‘sorbing’ materials, used to reduce run off, entrained sediments and nutrients.

Commonly used in the United States of America to control sediments from construction sites, we’ve been trialling them on agricultural land to reduce levels of phosphate entering watercourses, with the aim to improve water quality