Following the launch of their Get River Positive Plan, five pledges to transform river water quality across their region, the water company has announced they will be looking to accelerate work to protect designated special areas of conservation on the River Clun in Shropshire, the River Mease in Leicestershire and the Upper Wye catchment in Derbyshire.
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) are amongst the most important and sensitive sites in the UK and protected by legislation. Analysis by Natural England and the Environment Agency shows that reductions in nutrients including phosphates are all needed to restore and support the natural habitats.
James Jesic, Operations Director at Severn Trent said: “Each Special Area of Conservation is unique, but we know nutrients including phosphates from our treatment works are a factor in their condition, as well as the impact of farming and other sources of diffuse pollution. We’ve already invested £50 million to upgrade our treatment works in the three catchment areas to help to reduce phosphates.
“The Government has today announced new, long-term environmental targets, which we welcome. However, as part of our Get River Positive Plan, we’re going to go even further and faster to both support the protected habitats and free up development potential, and will therefore be investing a further £20million to ensure we are playing our part.”
Severn Trent also called for a coordinated approach and have been working with the Environment Agency and Natural England – as well as local groups – to encourage sustainable farming practices to help them reduce phosphates in the rivers still further.
“Whilst we don’t own the rivers in our region, we want to help others do more. We can’t do this alone, and we know agriculture is still a significant factor and so, as part of our Get River Positive Plan, we’re going to incentivise and work with farmers so they can do their bit to protect these precious habitats,” James added.