Severn Trent Water Ltd
As one of the major landowners in the Forest with six reservoirs and numerous water and sewage installations, Severn Trent Water Ltd (STW) is a natural partner for the National Forest Company (NFC), especially for work on nature conservation, recreation and tourism. As a major corporate sponsor of the Forest, the company has dedicated over £200,000 of landfill tax credit funding to support joint projects.
Three years of effort and a substantial budget are now reaping their rewards as ambitious nature conservation plans on Severn Trent Water sites in The National Forest come to fruition.
Kelham Bridge, Leicestershire
At Kelham Bridge, a former sewage works and 20 acres of land have been transformed into a wetland conservation showpiece. The combination of reedbed, open water bodies, grassland, scrub, wet woodland and floodplain features means that the reserve is able to support a rich variety of wildlife. There are 15 species of dragonfly, 20 species of butterfly and over 100 bird species recorded on the site, besides the mammals, amphibians and fish supported by the reserve. Kelham Bridge is an important example of how a relatively small nature reserve contributes a great deal to sustaining biodiversity.
This radical transformation has been achieved through strong partnership working between STW and NFC, with the Environment Agency, Leicestershire County Council and Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (who have now taken on ownership of the site). It is a truly exciting project and there is a realistic hope it may become a SSSI site in the future.
Geoff Nickolds, Recreation and Conservation Manager, STW, said:
"We have been absolutely delighted to work with the National Forest Company on this programme. Our projects have made a very significant contribution to the development of the Forest, and we are keen to build on this success with new projects into the future."
Croxall Lakes, Staffordshire
STW's 150 acre site at Croxall Lakes forms a principal southern gateway to the Forest. Following substantial work joint funded by Staffordshire Environmental Fund and in partnership with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (who now own the site), the site has become a haven for wildlife. It features extensive water and wetland areas important for wading birds; unimproved grassland grazed by a small herd of Gloucester rare breed cattle, encourages snipe and lapwing; the site favours the planting of the rare native black poplar (one of The National Forest BAP species); and the confluence of three rivers (Trent, Tame and Mease) acts as a ready-made 'Spaghetti Junction' for otters.
A project of national significance has just started. Based on the partnership of the NFC and STW, using experimental sites in the Forest, Middlemarch Environmental (the much respected consultancy arm of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust) is undertaking a project on wet woodlands. Wet woodlands are an important contributor to bio-diversity and a vital element of floodplain management. This innovative research will lead to a good practice guide which can be applied to the creation and management of wet woodland sites all over the UK.
Leah Graham, Fundraising & Development Officer
National Forest Company
+44 (0)1283 551211