Severn Trent helps to boost biodiversity supporting Shropshire project to create wildflower-rich roadside verges 

Friday 10 November 2023

Severn Trent has launched its support for an initiative in Bomere Heath and surrounding villages to boost biodiversity by creating wildflower-rich roadside verges.

Teams from the water and waste company have been working in the area to replace every lead supply pipe and will also be supporting the ‘Restoring Shropshire’s Verges Project’ (RSVP) by taking part in upcoming planting days and sponsoring events. 

The project, also in partnership with Shropshire Council, aims to restore wildflower-rich verges on the sides of roads in the area, as well as small pockets of communal land. RSVP also supports local individuals, small groups of residents or parish councils to set up their own verge project in their local area.

Katie Cockerill, Assistant Project Manager for Severn Trent’s supply pipes programme, said: “As part of our supply pipes project, we’ve been looking at ways we can give back to the community and help the environment, which is why we wanted to support this wonderful initiative when we first heard about it.

“Planting season starts very soon, so staff from our supply pipes team will be going out with the volunteers to help plant the wildflower verges, including myself. 

“I’m really looking forward to those days, engaging with the local community and seeing the great results at the end. Road verges can be a haven for wildlife and it will be great to play our part in restoring them across the area for the future.”

Severn Trent was the main sponsor of a recent RSVP conference called: ‘Hedges, verges and watercourses - the Importance of these features in our Shropshire landscape', that had the aim of sharing best practices and educating attendees such as farmers and people with small holdings to improve ecology and biodiversity (see picture above). 

The company will also be sponsoring a follow-up conference hosted by Middle Marches Community Land Trust (MMCLT) on November 17, called: ‘The importance of Town and Parish Councils to help deliver nature recovery across Shropshire, Telford and the Wrekin.’

Janet Cobb of RSVP & MMCLT, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Severn Trent and Shropshire Council in relation to Nature Recovery across Shropshire, Telford and the Wrekin.

“Support from Severn Trent enabled us to run a successful conference last Friday which was fully booked and had the support of Shropshire Council leader Ms Lezley Picton and the Shropshire Association of Local Councils. Councillors attended from across the county and there was lots of positive feedback received.”

Severn Trent’s supply pipes project is part of its £566 million Green Recovery programme and will see the company remove all lead water supply pipes in Bomere Heath - both on its network and customer-owned water supply pipes, to provide clean, safe drinking water to all residents.

When complete, the project will enable the company to stop using phosphate to treat the local water supply, meaning less phosphate going back out through wastewater into the environment. 

Katie added: “The programme itself has been progressing really well - we’ve had great support from the local community and parish councils involved, we’ve got some great contractors in place who are very experienced in the industry and we’re making great progress despite being in the early stages.”