Severn Trent announces progress on its work to protect rivers

31st March 2023

·         One year on from Get River Positive - impact on regions rivers reduced by one third

·         100% monitor coverage of storm overflows, now giving better visibility than ever before  

·         Other sectors are now responsible for 84% of reasons for rivers not achieving Environment Agency good status with Severn Trent responsible for 16%

Severn Trent has today shared progress one year on from announcing its commitment to protect and improve in the health of the region’s rivers.  Results show impact from its operations has reduced by one third in one year and the water company has completed the installation of 100% of monitor coverage across the region.

Central to Severn Trent’s commitments is the pledge that its operations will not be the reason for any stretch of river in its region to be classified as unhealthy by 2030.  Environment Agency (EA) data released today (31 March 2023) shows this figure is now 16% down from 24%, with the remaining 84% attributable to other sectors.

The 2022 Event Duration Monitoring data shows that on average storm overflows were used for 1.15% of the total year - a 47% decrease in the operational time of 2021.  In addition, whilst rainfall across the region was lower (13% less than in 2021) through improvements and investments, activations have reduced by 26% compared to the previous year and duration reduced by 46% on average.

Severn Trent is moving faster, in some cases 20 years ahead of targets set out by regulators and the Get River Positive pledges have made a difference across its region over the last 12 months including:

  • Investing £100 million a year on improving infrastructure
  • Making significant progress on the £78 million Bathing Rivers programme to improve 50km of rivers in Warwickshire and Shropshire and the £25 million project to help prevent sewer flooding and river pollution across the Gloucestershire town of Stroud
  • Installing 100% of monitors on storm overflows by the end of 2022, recording data every 2 or 15 minutes, providing more 300 million data records over the course of a year  

James Jesic, Director of Operations at Severn Trent said: "Our hardworking teams continue to deliver strong results, with the goal of helping to make the region’s rivers the healthiest they can be – both through redoubling our own efforts and investment and supporting others to also reduce their impact.  

“However, we’re not complacent, and we know there’s a lot more to do. Severn Trent operations currently account for 16 percent of the reasons why rivers aren't achieving good ecological status in the region, with 84 percent attributable to other sectors - we know that is still far too high - and we’re focused on reducing our impact further and down to zero by 2030.”  

Severn Trent is proud to have been recognised with the highest four-star rating from the Environment Agency for the third year running and welcomed a new Independent Advisory Panel to oversee progress against the pledges earlier this year. 

Independent Advisory Panel chair, Dr Julia Casperd, said: “I’m passionate about protecting our natural environment and the vital ecosystem services that they provide. I am keen to use my experience and skills to support Severn Trent in its commitment to make the region’s rivers the healthiest they can be, whilst also enhancing their biodiversity and mitigating climate change.    

“The panel’s priorities are to bring insights from the many areas that depend on rivers, as well as providing the right amount of scrutiny and accountability to Severn Trent’s five Get River Positive pledges.” 

Other investments in the region's rivers include: 

  • Severn Trent’s dedicated team of River Rangers have carried out over 3,560 riverside inspections (sampling and monitoring activities that provide the company with river quality data). The team of 10 has attended over 110 meetings with partners, environment and community groups  
  • Since launching the Severn Trent Community Fund’s Get River Positive focus in 2022, over £278,000 of grants to four brilliant projects across the region that will have a positive impact on the region’s rivers.
  • 90,000 children across primary and secondary schools have received a classroom lesson from Severn Trent’s education team. The sessions include lessons on sewer misuse – making it clear what items are fine to flush and put down the sink, what items aren’t, and showing the consequences when the wrong things enter the sewer network such as flooding 

Visit for more information and to sign up for the newsletter for regular progress updates.