Severn Trent Water Biodiversity Strategy

Overview

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (2018) commits to the development of a Nature Recovery Network to protect and restore wildlife, and to provide opportunities to reintroduce species that we have lost from our countryside. In order to achieve this, the plan proposes additional wildlife habitat and more effective linkages between protected species and landscapes.   The Severn Trent Water service area – which extends from mid-Wales to Rutland, and from the Humber down to the Bristol Channel – covers more than 500,000 hectares. As such, the the company’s regional and catchment-level strategies for land management and biodiversity influence the health and connectivity of wild nature across a large part of the UK.

Project brief

In 2019, Ecosulis was commissioned by Severn Trent Water to compile a regional biodiversity strategy to inform the company’s future biodiversity and nature recovery strategies and decisions relating to the Severn Trent biodiversity improvement fund, which is available to land managers and farmers within the Severn Trent region.  This involved the compilation of a series of strategy maps, covering Severn Trent’s entire 500,000-hectare-plus region, incorporating information from existing open source datasets. These maps could then be used to highlight priority areas for ecological enhancement, such as wetlands and natural flood management priority areas.

YEAR

2019

Impact

manage Biodiversity

Biodiversity is enhanced through priority actions guided by the map-based strategy.

Protect Habitats

Restored habitats are better able to support thriving wildlife populations.

empower-us-to-act People

Farmers and landowners are rewarded financially for their stewardship of wild nature. People benefit from the enhanced benefits that restored wild nature provides, such as clean air and water, better flood protection and improved health and wellbeing.

How we added value.

Severn Trent Region mapping

Relevant data was researched and aggregated into GIS layers. These incorporated data relating to connectivity, priority habitats and land cover and intactness, as well as species records and designated site information. The layers were then brought together to develop an integrated map.

This approach allowed the biodiversity-related priority actions for each geographic area to be highlighted – such as wetland creation, species-specific enhancements and natural flood management – through the creation of individual heat maps.

Interactive mapping

Ecosulis developed an interactive mapping platform to ensure the biodiversity-related data was easily accessible for the Severn Trent team. This allowed each data layer to be accessed, as well as relevant notes relating to each grid square. The aim was to provide top-level information that could be used to inform regional funding strategies.

The bigger picture

This approach to strategic biodiversity enhancement can be taken to inform funding allocation from the local to regional level, improving efficiency and delivering better outcomes.  It can also be used to inform investment in nature recovery.

Want to learn more about rewilding and nature recovery?

Read more insights or explore our previous work.