SES Water hits biodiversity target

SES Water has hit its commitment to have three of its sites accredited for biodiversity during the current asset management period (AMP7).

The company said the accreditation means it is in a strong position heading into AMP8, when all companies will have a common biodiversity commitment for the first time.

It attained its third Biodiversity Benchmark award for land management from the Wildlife Trust for its Bough Beech water treatment works.

“As we look towards our next regulatory planning period, when all water companies will have a common performance commitment for biodiversity improvement, we believe our Benchmark work across all our biodiversity sites and implementation of management protocols has given us the skills to ensure our biodiversity net gain proposals across 80% of our landholdings will be a success,” water sustainability manager, Grace Wood-Lofthouse, said.

To earn the benchmark, SES developed a biodiversity management plan for the Bough Beech site with Surrey Wildlife Trust. The site had to enhance organic habitats in a sustainable way, as well as encouraging native species by installing bird and invertebrate boxes.

Bough Beech joins Elmer and Fetcham Springs sites as holding the accreditation and SES remains the only water company to have attained the award. The company earned its first benchmark in 2021, which it previously told Utility Week took several years to reach all required standards.

The treatment plant site is now home to great crested newts, fallow deer, red kites, woodpeckers, tawny owls, house martins, swifts and swallows.

The company set its sights on gaining the benchmark during AMP7 after making biodiversity protection and enhancement a key focus in its PR19 plans with a bespoke outcome delivery incentive.

The Wildlife Trusts’ head of corporate partnerships, Emma Price Thomas, said: “Achieving this challenging standard at a third site is testament to SES Water’s, and its employees’, commitment to protecting and improving biodiversity on their sites.

“We look forward to SES Water continuing to manage its land for wildlife and annually maintaining The Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark at their sites for the long-term.”

The water-only company was acquired by Pennon Group earlier this year. The parent of South West, Bournemouth and Bristol water companies, bought SES for £89 million in January. Completion is subject to regulatory approval.