How Severn Trent Services is investing in our planet – Earth Day 2022

Today is Earth Day 2022.

A day where individuals and organisations raise awareness of what’s being done – and what needs to be done – to drive positive action for the planet.

This year, the theme is ‘Invest In Our Planet’.

We spoke to Dan Mcardle, Head of Water Services Contacts. And Jemma Jones, Environment and Implementation Manager – to learn about some of the things Severn Trent Services is doing to invest in the planet.

Cutting carbon

Severn Trent PLC has pledged to reach operational net zero carbon emissions by 2030. To help achieve this, Dan and his team are going electric.

Dan said: “We’re trialling the use of Nissan E-NV200 electric vehicles for those field technicians who travel under 100 miles each day. This is because our diesel vans are a big contributor to our carbon footprint, so we’re keen to identify technology that will allow us to replace these with greener vehicles.

“We’re also experimenting with electric all-terrain vehicles (ATV) which we use to get across some of the remote assets we operate.

“We’ve managed to understand the capabilities of the vans in different environments now. It’s going really well and we’re looking to replace more diesel vehicles over time.” Lownethwaite water treatment works in North Yorkshire is where the electric vehicles are being used and where the charging points are located. It’s also home to a 30kw system of solar panels to help minimise the site’s impact on the environment even further.

Improving the local community

Dan and his team – supported by Jemma – have a whole host of initiatives in place to promote biodiversity and make the communities they serve a better place to live and work in.

How? By planting trees, making bug hotels, installing bird boxes, and creating wildflower meadows.

Jemma said: “In the coming months over 300 trees will be planted on the sites that Dan and his team work on, in addition to those already planted. A tree has the capacity to support around 1,000 species, so it’s an important activity.” Dan added: “The 300 trees will be planted in support of our new rewilding campaign. What’s even more special is that each tree will be tagged with the family name of one of our employees, helping to create a lasting legacy for the teams.”

Going wild with rewilding

Next week sees the launch of the ‘Rewilding’ campaign. Another sustainability project designed to enhance the local environment.

Dan explained: “Usually, we cut the grass on all parts of our assets, but in the spirit of sustainability, we won’t always be doing this going forward.

“Cutting grass wastes time, energy, and money. But most importantly, it destroys natural habitats. So instead, on some sites, we’re allowing the grass to grow and thrive – adding wildflower seeds to the mix to create wildflower meadows.

“Employees will be able to get involved in this campaign too. Watch this space for further announcements in the coming days.”

Sustainable assets

The water and wastewater assets that Severn Trent Services manage have an impact on the environment too. From when they’re built, during their lifetime, and when they become redundant.

Jemma explained: “We’re always looking to make sure new assets are built sustainably and old ones are disposed of in the right way. Or even reused, like turning disused settlement tanks into wetland areas.

 “Some of our team manage reed beds on behalf of customers. There’s no better example of a sustainable asset than a reed bed. “They’re a natural way to treat wastewater. No power is needed. They’re low maintenance. And they provide an important habitat for plants and animals.”

From the ground up

Dan and Jemma have both been impressed with how employees in Severn Trent Services are driving the sustainability projects and action themselves.

From volunteering to clean rivers or pick up litter – to creating green spaces to enjoy in their communities.

Dan said: “The urgent need to invest in our planet is being driven by everyone in the organisation. And to bring this to life, please enjoy the snaps in this article taken by Ian Galliers, a field technician who’s passionate about the planet and a gifted photographer!”