An action-packed programme of environmental events open to staff and members of the public is planned by South West Water this year.
In its 25 Year Environment Plan, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs named 2019 as a Year of Green Action, aimed highlighting the role that people and businesses can play in improving the environment.
The Year of Green Action is designed to build on positive environmental action already taking place, while reaching new audiences and demonstrating the power of collective action across all sections of society.
Monthly activities have been planned by South West Water, together with the rest of the Pennon Group. So far these include conservation management at operational sites, a restoration project in partnership with Dartmoor National Park, volunteer beach cleans across the region and participation in wider initiatives including National Invasives Week and the Big Devon March.
Also during the Year of Green Action, South West Water will be continuing its support for ReFill, by supplying 3,000 stainless steel refillable bottles, free of charge, to Keep Britain Tidy to distribute to community groups in Devon and Cornwall. The ReFill bottles will be sold by communities to plough the proceeds back into good causes in their areas.
As a co-founder of the ReFill revolution, South West Water is also talking to councils in the region to explore how the campaign can be expanded further across the South West, following its UK launch in Bude, Cornwall in 2014.
The company will continue to roll out its award-winning Upstream Thinking programme to restore wetlands and control future water treatment costs, as well as its Downstream Thinking scheme to cut the risk of sewer flooding and overflows. Since 2010, South West Water has worked to improve the water quality at 1,290 farms upstream of drinking water reservoirs and river abstractions. It has also restored 7,997 acres (3,236 hectares) of moorland, culm grass and other semi-nature habitats.
Reducing carbon emissions and generating renewable energy using hydropower, solar panels, biogas and wind power are also a key area of focus for 2019. As part of its ambitious business plan for 2020-25, South West Water is gearing up to spend more than £1billion to improve services, enhance operational resilience and deliver the largest programme of environmental improvements for 15 years.
Environmental Permitting Manager Jenny Lundh is coordinating the company’s programme of Year of Green Action events. She said: “South West Water’s day-to-day activities depend on a healthy natural environment and we want to continue to play our part in protecting it as well as encouraging our customers to do so.
“We’ll be inviting our staff – and customers where we can – to join in, volunteer and learn more about our beautiful environment and what we can all do to improve it.”
Director of Environment Ed Mitchell said: “The health of the natural environment is essential to our business. In every aspect of our operational activity we seek to leave the environment in an improved condition, for example by promoting biodiversity on our sites.
“We already have an active volunteering programme which enables staff to take part in projects such as beach cleans and habitat restorations. During 2019 we’ll be supporting the Year of Green Action and inviting our customers to join us in some of the activities we have planned.”
Events will be publicised on South West Water’s website and social media channels.