Meet Coventry and Warwickshire’s local Severn Trent River Rangers

Friday 13 January 2023

As Severn Trent’s team of river rangers celebrate the first anniversary in their role, we caught up with Siobhan Bray and Zara Butler, who are dedicated to protecting rivers in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The team of ten rangers cover the Severn Trent region and work closely with partners across the region to focus on improving river health and boosting biodiversity along stretches of the Midland’s rivers. 

As well as educating customers to prevent wipes and sanitary products from reaching rivers, Siobhan and Zara carry out vital operational, monitoring and sampling activities that allows the company to understand the quality of river in its region better than ever before, and what’s needed to protect and improve them. 

Siobhan said: “We’re both outdoorsy people so it’s the perfect job for us. Our role means we’re the eyes of the river – checking our assets, walking up stretches of river to monitor them, as well as meeting with local groups that have an interest in rivers such as boating and water sports groups. We also like to join in with community litter picks along riverbanks.

“While Severn Trent doesn’t own the region’s rivers, our team is just one example of how seriously Severn Trent is taking the health of our rivers. Going back to the areas we’ve previously worked in is so rewarding.”

In addition to the company’s river ranger team Severn Trent launched its Get River Positive commitments in March 2022 to provide a clear and actionable response to calls for a revival of rivers in England. 

The company has committed that its operations will not be the reason for any stretch of river in the whole Severn Trent region to be classified as unhealthy by 2030. According to Environment Agency data, Severn Trent is currently responsible for 17% of reasons for rivers in its region not achieving good ecological status with the remaining 83% of reasons attributed to other sectors.  

Part of Get River Positive that specifically enhances rivers in Warwickshire, is the company’s Green Recovery Bathing Rivers programme; this will improve the water quality along the rivers Leam and Avon, and aims to move parts of the Leam towards bathing quality by 2025.   

Zara added: “I love my role – you can’t get a better job walking up and down the rivers every day, even in the rain it’s great. Just from the invertebrate surveys we do which are a key indicator of river health, you can see the improvements already, and in the years to come it will only improve further.

“We love interacting with people out and about so please come and say hello if you see us and we’ll be more than happy to chat about the work we’re doing.”