Severn Trent's green programme to create 2,500 jobs endorsed by regulator

Severn Trent's green recovery plans which include encouraging wild swimming and installing smart metres have been endorsed by the water regulator.

Severn Trent chief executive Liv Garfield
Severn Trent chief executive Liv Garfield

The water company plans to invest £565 million to support the UK's green economic bounceback and says it will create 2,500 jobs in the Midlands in the process.

Regulator Ofwat challenged all water companies to produce such plans and has now given its backing to Severn Trent's ideas.

The company, which has its headquarters in Coventry and has bases across the West Midlands, will make the new investment over the next four years if its gets final approval.

Severn Trent said it will now be working through the detail of Ofwat's response to its plans, many of which it says would be a first for the UK.

The projects include increasing water supplies with enough water to supply a city the size of Derby, using low carbon technology; encouraging wild swimming by trialling the creation of two bathing rivers in stretches of the River Leam and the River Teme; accelerating environmental commitments by improving 500 kilometres (310 miles) of river five years earlier than planned; helping customers to save water by introducing more than 150,000 smart meters and removing old customer-owned lead pipes in up to 26,000 homes in two trial areas and using innovative techniques to find and replace them.

Liv Garfield, Severn Trent chief executive, said: "We're really pleased by Ofwat's endorsement of our ambitious Green Recovery plans. Whilst we still need to go through the finer details of the announcement, we're delighted that Ofwat shares our enthusiasm for this impressive range of proposals, which we believe will benefit all our customers.

"Our communities, and the environment they care about, are at the heart of what we do. The Green Recovery programme is a key element in the Government's plans to get the nation back on its feet and improve the environment.

"This investment into our region will see us lead the way by delivering a number of UK firsts including new, innovative trials to reduce the risk of flooding, increased water supplies and transformed stretches of river. What's more, we will also be creating 2,500 jobs in the Midlands at a time when increasing employment, and getting people back into work, is vital for our region.

"We'll be accelerating our capital spend to deliver these impressive plans and to achieve our existing commitments earlier. Together with our Green Recovery programme, the investments we are making will play a significant role in providing communities with the confidence that the Midlands can bounce back better than before."

Severn Trent expects no material changes to the draft determination, but Ofwat is now entering a consultation period until June 9 and plans to issue its final decision in July.

Severn Trent provides four million homes, care homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses with clean water and reliable waste water services.

It covers Shropshire, Stafford, Wolverhampton and Birmingham and also provides sewerage services to about 1.3 million people in areas of Staffordshire and the Black Country.

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