Water company Severn Trent has pledged to create 2,500 new jobs in the Midlands as part of a huge industry-wide investment programme to help fund the UK’s green recovery.
The Coventry business plans to invest £565 million in projects including installing 150,000 smart meters, earmarking two rivers for wild swimming and removing old lead pipes.
It follows regulator Ofwat’s pledge to water companies to take action and help support a green bounce-back from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Liv Garfield, Severn Trent chief executive, said: “We’re really pleased by Ofwat’s endorsement of our ambitious Green Recovery plans. Whilst we still need to go through the finer details of the announcement, we’re delighted that Ofwat shares our enthusiasm for this impressive range of proposals, which we believe will benefit all our customers.
“Our communities, and the environment they care about, are at the heart of what we do. The Green Recovery programme is a key element in the Government’s plans to get the nation back on its feet and improve the environment.”
“This investment into our region will see us lead the way by delivering a number of UK firsts including new, innovative trials to reduce the risk of flooding, increased water supplies and transformed stretches of river. What’s more, we will also be creating 2,500 jobs in the Midlands at a time when increasing employment, and getting people back into work, is vital for our region.
“We’ll be accelerating our capital spend to deliver these impressive plans and to achieve our existing commitments earlier.
“Together with our Green Recovery programme, the investments we are making will play a significant role in providing communities with the confidence that the Midlands can bounce back better than before.”
Ofwat has greenlit more than £850 million of new investment projects across the country’s water networks.
The new plans will see Thames Water invest up to £146 million, South West Water £81 million, United Utilities £63 million and South Staffs Water £8 million.
At the same time, a further £1.9 billion of planned investments will also be brought forward..
Ofwat’s interim chief executive David Black said: “Today marks an important step in this country’s green economic recovery with the water sector stepping up to make a difference.
“From tackling the most pressing environmental issues, to providing economic stimulus with the backing of jobs and training, there has never been a more important time to act.
“These proposals can be of huge benefit for people and the planet when it is needed most.”