Anglian Water Outlines Plans For River Restoration Scheme
Utility company Anglian Water has unveiled its plans for a £7 million river restoration scheme at 16 locations around the east of England, all of which have been designed to bring unique river habitats back to life, improving both biodiversity and ecology.
The investment forms part of £300 million worth of fast-tracked funding that the supplier brought forward at the end of last year as part of the government’s green recovery plans.
This accelerated delivery of the project comes after the State of Our Rivers report from the Rivers Trust revealed how important restored healthy rivers are for climate resilience, especially in drought-vulnerable parts of the country, such as East Anglia.
Anglian Water estimates that the restoration of targeted stretches of riverbed will bring wider ecological benefits across up to 250km of river catchment. Target areas of this latest project include tributaries of the region’s chalk streams, including those of the River Lark, the River Little Ouse, the River Wissey and the rivers Heacham and Gaywood.
Martin Bowes, the company’s water resources environment manager, explained that the aim of the scheme is to reinstate the rivers’ natural processes, which have been lost through modification and historical river management.
The work will reinstall the river beds’ meanders, riffles and gravel, which in turn will protect against erosion and create variation in river flows, he said, adding that changing the shape of the rivers will help to increase habitat diversity and help them function more naturally, without increasing flooding risks to local communities.
Operations director for the Rivers Trust Barry Bendall made further comments, saying: “It’s really positive to see Anglian Water fast-tracking their investment in nature-based infrastructure and helping rivers recover to build better climate resilience.
The programme of river restoration builds on previous partnership projects in the region, and will give local environments the chance to thrive again. It will take concerted, cross- sector collaboration across all of our catchments to improve the quality of our rivers and see them return to the flourishing natural habitats that are so vital for wildlife and local communities.”
Back in July, Anglian Water also unveiled its routemap for reaching net zero carbon by the year 2030, covering all its operational activities and those of its supply chain, as well as including a commitment to slashing capital carbon by 70 per cent against a baseline from 2010.
And in June, it launched a sustainability-linked bond connected to achieving its interim carbon targets – the first utility company in the world to take such action. It has committed to reducing capital carbon by 65 per cent by 2025 and operational carbon by 30 per cent by 2025, as part of its plans to reach net zero.
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