Washing machines, shopping trolleys and 70 bags of rubbish cleared from Warwickshire rivers by Severn Trent volunteers 

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Over 70 bags of rubbish and a washing machine have been pulled from Warwickshire watercourses by Severn Trent volunteers this year. 

Over the summer, Community Champions from the water company donned their waders and hopped into canoes to clear debris and litter from over 3 kilometres of the River Leam and River Sowe. 

Volunteers discovered a washing machine that had been fly-tipped in the River Sowe as they were clearing a 1.2km stretch of the watercourse near to Church of the Risen Christ in Coventry. In addition, 40 bags of rubbish were cleared from a 2km stretch of the River Leam located close to Leamington Boat Centre. While the water company’s Community Champions also helped to remove a car bumper, a mattress, and two shopping trolleys from the River Sherborne at Charterhouse, Coventry, as well as ten bags of litter from the riverbanks. 

The clean-up days are part of Severn Trent’s Community Champions scheme, established in 2017, which allows every member of staff to spend two working days a year doing voluntary work and further supports the company’s Get River Positive commitments. 

Severn Trent employee and Community Champion Asmaa Khalifa volunteered on the River Sowe clean-up this summer, she said: “It was great to be able to take some time to get outside and help in the local community by clearing some of the rubbish that had been left around the river. 

“We ended up pulling out a washing machine, some car tyres, as well as a number of metal and wooden items from the riverbed – which was a big surprise. 

“By the end of the day we felt like we’d made a real difference to that stretch of the river, meaning it can now be enjoyed by wildlife, as well as the local community.” 

The events were hosted by environmental charities Keep Britain Tidy and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. 

Severn Trent’s Get River Positive campaign was launched in March, to take a leading role in making the region’s rivers the healthiest they can be.