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SES Water achieves gold standard biodiversity award

SES Water has achieved The Wildlife Trusts' Biodiversity Benchmark for enhancing and protecting the biodiversity at its Elmer Water Treatment Works in Leatherhead - with two more sites expected to follow by 2025.

SES Water believes it is the only water company to currently hold the accreditation, honouring the wider commitment in its Business Plan for 2020-2025 to support a thriving environment and make its land more attractive habitats to a variety of plants and animal life.

Work so far has included: habitat surveys, reduced mowing to allow wildflowers to flourish, installation of bird boxes and the creation of bug hotels and deadwood piles to provide a food source and habitat for a range of species from stag beetles to bees and birds.

At the Elmer site, which covers approximately 10.7 hectares and supplies water to the Mole Valley district, six significant habits have been identified as part of the audit for the award. These included: grassland, semi-natural woodland, species-rich hedgerows and dense scrub – all found to be supporting species such as butterflies, dormice, badgers, lizards and slow worms.

In the meantime, biodiversity work continues in earnest across all of the company’s sites, with the aim of gaining the Benchmark certification for Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent and Fetcham Springs in Surrey within the next four years.

SES Water wholesale director Tom Kelly said: “As an industry leader in how we enhance and protect the biodiversity at our sites, we are immensely proud to have achieved this award. The need to treat and distribute water isn’t incompatible with encouraging biodiversity; the two can co-exist and the Benchmark allows us to do this.

“We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the essential service we provide and our clear Biodiversity Action Plan, to ensure the careful management of habitats needed for wildlife to thrive, now and in the future, is a great example of this commitment in action.”

Corporate relations manager from The Wildlife Trusts, Peter Dorans, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to certify SES Water’s Elmer Water Treatment Works to our Biodiversity Benchmark standard. We need 30 per cent of our land managed for wildlife and the management of Elmer demonstrates that nature can thrive even alongside vital infrastructure. 

“Biodiversity Benchmark is a very demanding standard and SES Water deserves our warmest congratulations on meeting it – on our first site owned by a water company. Our assessor was particularly impressed by work to retain and maintain flower rich grasslands which support the rare and protected species on the site.”  

Topic: Sustainability & social value
Tags: biodiversity , water treatment , reservoir , environment , SES Water , wildlife

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