We have launched our new Biodiversity Strategy – setting out how it will care for the incredible wildlife on its sites.
The aim is to set out what our company will do to protect and enhance wildlife on its sites and around the communities we serve.
It is an approach that is already bearing fruit at some of the 47 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the company’s care.
It’s also our response to what people told us in the huge customer consultation the company carried out when preparing our business plan.
Many people wanted us to do more than we are obliged to do by law, with reducing pollution and improving habitats for wildlife among their top priorities. Support for doing extra was strongest where it led to benefits for local people without a big impact on bills.
Last year almost 99 per cent of the company’s SSSIs were considered ‘favourable’ by Government adviser Natural England – the highest of its six reportable conditions.
We intend to keep our SSSIs managed at a high standard, because it’s what our customers want, and also because we believe that a healthy natural environment is the foundation of our business’s future growth and success.
Plus, at our SSSIs we can improve recreation, boosting our industry reputation; and protect the quality of our raw water, making it easier and cheaper to treat and put into supply.
We also have a small number of SSSIs that are considered to be ‘unfavourable recovering’, which is one step down from ‘favourable’.
One of these is Dereham Rushmeadows, next to Dereham Water Recycling Centre in Norfolk, where our team have been working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) to bring it up to a ‘favourable’ standard.
We’ve just reached a management agreement with NWT to contribute £15,000 over the next two years, and this has helped secure £140,000 of external funding to invest on top of that.
Later this year the NWT will build fences and put in grazing areas for cows, making it easier for them to feed. They’ll also improve access for local people with better footpaths, and encourage more visitors by putting in information points across the site.
Partnership working allows us to get the best possible management for sites at the best value for customers.
Another ‘unfavourable recovering’ site is Tetney Blow Wells in Lincolnshire, which used to be overcrowded with trees that were drying out the wetland that water voles, otters and rare plants depend on.
More than three acres of trees were felled, enhancing the reed and fen habitats wetland species need, and providing bats with a more suitable habitat to forage for insects.
You can find out more about our biodiversity work and download our full strategy document here – http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/environment/our-commitment/our-projects/