Thousands of trees to give ‘green hug’ around West Midlands

Friday 1 July 2022

With less than 30 days to go until the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Severn Trent has announced eleven new locations which are set to be planted as part of its commitment to create a ‘green hug’ around the Midlands. 

The company has made a commitment to plant 2,022 acres of forest, bringing urban communities closer to nature and leaving a carbon neutral legacy following the Games. 

The eleven new sites are in locations including East Birmingham, Bewdley and Telford* and collectively add up to around 430 acres across the Midlands, all helping to offset the carbon generated from the Games in a world first. 

As Birmingham 2022’s Official Nature & Carbon Neutral Partner, the Coventry HQ company has already planted five Commonwealth Forest sites this year in Solihull, Walsall, Birmingham, Newark and Wombourne, totaling 87 acres.

Richard Eadie, Head of Sustainability at Severn Trent, said: “These new spaces will live on long past the Games, creating an incredible legacy and providing a ‘green hug’ for the Midlands where biodiversity and nature can thrive and flourish.

“What’s good for nature is good for water and as a company taking care of one of life’s essentials, we’re passionate about making a positive impact on the communities and the environment where we live and operate - these sites will do just that by sequestering carbon as the trees mature, increasing biodiversity and reducing flood risks.”

Jess Fidler, Head of Sustainability at Birmingham 2022 Organising committee said: “The Games have made a commitment to create a carbon neutral legacy, and the Commonwealth Forest is a crucial part. We are taking a reduction first approach, focussing on areas we can reduce our footprint for example; actively encouraging spectators to use public transport by including it within spectators tickets and adopting a ‘grid power first’ approach to venue power to reduce reliance on diesel generators. 

“The Commonwealth Forest is our principal source of offsets for those residual emission we can’t reduce, which will, as the trees mature, remove and store carbon, leaving a carbon neutral legacy for the region.”

In addition to its commitment to plant 2,022 acres of Commonwealth Forest, the water company will be operating self-service water refill stations at every Games venue this summer, allowing spectators the opportunity to fill up their reusable water bottles and stay hydrated for free throughout the 11 days of live sport. The initiative will play an important role in reducing waste, and in turn, reduce the impact on the environment. 

72 Tiny Forests have also been planted by Severn Trent across the Midlands this year as part of the drive to make this year’s Games the most sustainable yet.

To find out more about the Games’ approach to carbon management – visit their website here.

* Site locations may be subject to change depending on the outcomes on environmental checks, consultation and successful applications. The sites announced by Severn Trent are located at: Crofton Hackett (Bromsgrove); Little Lake Leisure Park (Worcestershire); Willenhall (Walsall); various sites through Wyre to Wyre Trees Call to Action project and Birmingham (Cole Valley); Rushmoor (Telford); Newthorpe (Nottingham); Powick Ham (Worcester); Walkerith Road (Gainsborough); Monkmoor (Shrewsbury); and Two Thornfields (Ladybower).