Our proposals for the next 25 years:
- Service improvements
- Maintaining service
In the years ahead, we’ll continue to be a responsible steward of the region’s land, rivers, reservoirs, lakes and coastal waters. We will meet new legislative standards, support biodiversity and wildlife habitats, play our part in creating cleaner bathing waters and beaches, and deliver crucial benefits for the region’s tourism industries.
We will work in partnership with like-minded organisations to deliver far-reaching results, and will be prepared to challenge regulatory requirements when we believe that the costs (and hence implications for customers’ bills) do not justify the end results.
Reducing our carbon footprint remains at the heart of our strategy to manage our impact on a changing climate. We will reduce our carbon emissions by 50 per cent (from levels in 2005/06) by 2035, a pledge we committed to back in 2010 and are on target to meet. We will also ensure we continue to deliver our services as the climate changes.
Our focus will be on
Legal and regulatory requirements
Since privatisation, we have invested £8.1 billion to meet new standards and requirements that have benefitted the natural environment. This has enabled people across the North West to make greater use of the natural environment around them. In the future, we will continue to be required to meet new environmental obligations. At the moment, we don’t have all the technology we need to meet these requirements at a price that is cost effective for our customers. So we will continue to invest in our own and collaborative research projects, as well as challenging our suppliers to come up with new and better ways of doing things. At the same time we’ll work with our regulators and stakeholders to agree the pace at which improvements are required.
Playing our part in cleaner beaches, rivers and coastal waters
Improving bathing water quality and beaches requires action by a wide range of organisations whose activities can all have an impact on the quality of our coastlines. For our part, we will continue to explore innovative ways of managing our sewer network, of limiting the frequency of sewer discharges into the environment and of upgrading our wastewater treatment works. We will continue to share our expertise, resources and skills with local authorities and other partners and be an active participant in joint projects to tackle these issues. Our management of catchment land will also contribute to enhancing and protecting raw water quality in our reservoirs, as well as shellfish waters.
Putting waste to work
Sludge, a by-product of the wastewater treatment process, used to be regarded as a waste product but is now recognised as a valuable source of energy production. By using more of the sludge we produce for renewable energy generation and returning nutrients back to the soil, we can reduce our operating costs. We’ll also be mindful of new ways to generate energy as they emerge. In the future, we will look for ways to further reduce our reliance on natural resources, which are likely to cost more, while also finding ways to make better use of the sewage we receive – in effect, starting to think about our wastewater treatment facilities as factories that generate energy.
Improving ‘raw’ water quality
By improving the quality of the ‘raw’ water we collect from rivers and reservoirs, we can reduce the amount of chemicals and energy required to treat it at our water treatment works. We will continue to work in partnership with other stakeholders, landowners and industry to manage our catchment land more effectively, so that the water collected is of the best possible quality. When it comes to water treatment, we will seek to develop innovative solutions which reduce the need for more expensive, energy-intensive treatment options.
Maintaining public access
Our catchment land is located in some of the most scenic and spectacular places in the UK, such as the Lake District, the Peak District and the Forest of Bowland. We are committed to maintaining high levels of public access, so the beautiful landscapes we manage can be enjoyed by all. We will also continue to protect the heritage sites we have been entrusted with, working in collaboration with partners and the local community.