Severn Trent sets standards for Nature Recovery Network

Trailblazing work funded by Midlands water company, Severn Trent has been welcomed by Natural England, for providing a major contribution to the Nature Recovery Network as the organisation’s chair, Tony Juniper calls for other companies to follow suit.
Farming for water

From left to right: Paul Wilkinson, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, Liv Garfield, Severn Trent Chief Executive, Natural England Chair Tony Juniper and Gregor Pierrepont, Executive Director of Thoresby Farming, visiting Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire showcasing maize trials to investigate whether under-sowing them with strips of grass can improve water quality and soil health.

A partnership with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will focus on four major sustainability projects that will enhance the natural environment and improve water quality over 290ha including:

  • Idle Washlands SSSI – improving habitats for waders and water voles, including scrape creation, wet grassland restoration and fencing
  • The Idle Valley Nature Reserve, Chainbridge Scrape – develop crucial water control structures to manage water levels on the wetland SSSI. A project to reintroduce beavers for sustainable conservation management and diverse wetland habitat creation before work begins on rewilding the reserve
  • Contribute to the developing Nature Recovery Network in farmed landscapes – working with farmers and landowners in four target areas of Nottinghamshire to create wildlife-rich habitats such as meadows, woodlands and ponds
  • Thoresby maize trials – investigating whether under-sowing maize with strips of grass can help protect water quality, soil health and increase farmland pollinators

This work is one segment of Severn Trent’s commitment to improve over 5,000ha by 2027 as part of their Great Big Nature Boost and over the next seven years, will fulfil 1% of the Government’s target for the Nature Recovery Network.

Tony Juniper, Natural England chair, was recently given a tour of three of the sites to see the projects first-hand, in accordance with social distancing guidelines. He explained that the significant contribution from Severn Trent toward the creation of a national Nature Recovery Network could not be more welcome.

These exciting projects embody the kind of approach needed to achieve our national ambition to create a flourishing Nature Recovery Network.
Tony Juniper, Chair
Natural England

“These exciting projects embody the kind of approach needed to achieve our national ambition to create a flourishing Nature Recovery Network. Collaboration is at the heart of it, and here we can see the benefits of industry, farming and conservation coming together to ensure that nature thrives for the benefit of people and planet. I very much hope these projects will inspire others to invest in similarly effective partnerships,” he said.

Paul Wilkinson, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust chief executive, added that an effective Nature Recovery Network must be created from the ground up, with everyone playing a part. “These exciting projects illustrate that serious investment in nature’s recovery is good for wildlife, communities and businesses. Working in partnership we have the power to address the climate and ecological emergencies through local action.”

Liv Garfield, Severn Trent CEO, said that she is incredibly proud for Severn Trent to play its part in protecting and enhancing important areas in partnership with other organisations who share the same dreams and ambitions.

“For us, it’s a real win-win situation. These projects allow us to give something back to the communities we serve and boost biodiversity across the region – which has proven to dramatically improve water quality as part of the process,” she said.