A healthy environment is critical to our business. We rely on the environment for our product - 85% of the water we supply comes from sources beneath the North Downs and the rest from the River Eden. So we need it to be healthy and abundant.
We impact the environment every day through the energy we use, the emissions we create and the water that is returned through the treatment process.
Our Business Plan for 2020 to 2025
Our Business Plan for 2020 to 2025 makes a commitment to "Support a thriving environment we can all rely upon".
We take a twin-track approach to protecting and enhancing the environment both now and in the future through:
Minimising the impact that we and our customers have on the environment
Actively improving the environment in areas of benefit to our customers
How we will deliver this
To protect and enhance the environment both now and in the future, our Biodiversity Action Plan sets out to minimise the impact that we and our customers have on the environment, and at the same time to increase biodiversity. In 2020 we established an Environmental Scrutiny Panel. The role of the ESP is to act independently on behalf of SES Water's customers to advise and challenge our company vision, strategy and business plans relating to environmental outcomes.
In Spring 2021 we will begin rolling out biodiversity surveys on our land, this information will be used to make informed decisions on improving biodiversity. The surveys will look at habitats and species present alongside invasive species.
We have been making continuous improvements across our sites to enhance biodiversity at our sites:
- Building management: owl tower, bird boxes, nest boxes, reptile refuge
- Habitats: management of grassland, improved habitats e.g. enhancing hedgerows
- Surveys: butterflies, reptile, grassland
To find out more about habitats and species, read our information leaflets and poster below:
Biodiversity Benchmark certification
As a result of the way we manage our site at Elmer, we have been awarded the Wildlife Trusts' prestigious Biodiversity Benchmark certificate for the site.
We are the only water company to currently hold the accreditation, honouring our wider commitment in our Business Plan 2020-2025 to keep the land we own rich in biodiversity and make our sites attractive habitats to a variety of plants and animal life.
Work so far has included: habitat surveys, reduced mowing to allow wildflowers to flourish, installation of bird boxes and the creation of bug hotels and deadwood piles to provide a food source and habitat for a range of species from stag beetles to bees and birds.
At the Elmer site, which covers approximately 10.7 hectares and supports the urban areas of Leatherhead and Fetcham, six grassland habitats have been identified as part of the audit for the award. These include: grassland, semi-natural woodland, species-rich hedgerows and dense scrub - all found to be supporting species such as butterflies, dormice, badgers, lizards and slow worms.
Although the work doesn't end here, biodiversity work continues in earnest across all of the Company's sites, with the aim of gaining the Benchmark certification for Bough Beech in Kent and Fetcham Springs in Surrey within the next four years.