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Southern Water given recognition for rare species protection

Southern Water given recognition for rare species protection


Southern Water is one of the first companies to be given a new-fast track approval process for engineering works which might affect the habitats of rare or protected species.

The licence from Natural England, the Government's adviser for the natural environment, means a quicker approval process for eningeering projects and development in recognition of high quality work protecting vulnerable wildlife, including dormice, badgers and crested newts.

We are one of the first four out of 17 major water companies inEnglandandWalesto receive an 'organisational licence'. The company will continue to carry out the same level of care and scrutiny and will continue to report on outcomes to Natural England.

"From a business point of view and investment in the environment, this will mean that work on key schemes will start sooner and there will be less bureaucracy but that is not the important point for me," said Ian McAulay, Chief Executive, "We're delighted to have this gesture of trust in our stewardship of the habitats and wildlife living in them. I am very proud that our efforts to be a friend of the environment and to stick to the best possible practice in everything we do has been recognised by Natural England."

Whenever Southern Water undertakes a new project, it conducts a careful ecological survey to analyse the wildlife living in the area. The emphasis is placed on sensitive or protected species and if precious animals such as great crested newts or dormice are found then no work starts until a careful plan to prevent and mitigate any possible damage to habitats.

"This is fantastic news for Southern Water but especially for our ecologists and environmental advisors who work in close harmony with Natural England. I know I speak for everyone in the company when I say the reduced paperwork and new way of working will actually increase protection of our important species and habitats" said Dr Nicola Meakins, Southern Water's Environmental Manager.

Andrew Smith, NaturalEnglandArea Manager for Thames, Dorset, Hampshire and theIsle of Wightsaid:

"NaturalEnglandis pleased to have worked with Southern Water over the last year to develop this Organisational Licence, which will benefit both Southern Water and Natural England by removing the need for numerous individual licences. The licence has been issued based on Southern Water's experience in working with mitigation licences; avoiding impacts where possible and designing mitigation strategies that follow best practice for the species.

"The development of new strategic licences, such as this, is part of Natural England's licensing improvement work to reduce our regulatory processes and we are hoping to work with more water utility companies."



Note for Editors:


  • Southern Water plans to invest £4 billion between 2020 and 2025 - it's biggest ever investment programme.
  • Spending will include £800 million on environmental improvements creating, expanding and protecting important habitats across the region


Background - How Southern Water protects wildlife

Whenever work starts on an engineering project which might impact wildlife - such digging a new cross-country pipeline or expanding one of our treatment works, we conduct and ecological survey to check for evidence of protected species such as badgers, dormice or great crested newts.

If such wildlife is found then a mitigation plan is created. Ideas such as changing where work is done are considered. If this isn't possible then new habitats are created and the fauna is either caught and moved or simply encouraged to move.

This work isn't cheap: surveying the 15 kilometre route of the new waste water pipeline roundChichestercost £250,000. If new habitats are created then we spend around £50,000 monitoring them to ensure the new inhabitants are settling in properly.


About NaturalEngland

NaturalEnglandis the government's advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006, our work is focused on enhancingEngland's wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public. 

For more information, visit our website: follow us on twitter:@NaturalEngland