The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management Awards recognise the success of projects, businesses and individuals who have made significant contributions to protecting the natural environment.
Yorkshire Water is one of three shortlisted for the Large-Scale Practical Nature Conservation category in this year’s awards.
Within its last business cycle, the company adopted a new partnership approach to biodiversity projects, moving away from the traditional contractor delivered way of working.
Recent projects have focused on restoring and strengthening ecosystems at a landscape level, to maximise benefits for wildlife and customers living in the catchment area. Between 2016-2019, the company worked with 10 NGO partners across 16 projects.
Supported by Natural England, Yorkshire Water undertook a mapping exercise of its land ownership to semi-quantify the ‘value’ of the land for biodiversity. This was done by assessing habitat distinctiveness and asset location with regard to landscape criteria such as B-lines or former NIAs. Using this information alongside input from its external Biodiversity Steering Group, the company developed the criteria for conservation projects.
One example presented to the judges was Yorkshire Water’s work with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The organisations worked in partnership to turn a disused fish farm on the West Beck Chalk Stream SSSI* into a thriving space for nature. The site is upstream of one of Yorkshire Water’s major river intakes, and on one of the most northerly chalk streams in England. The project re-landscaped the fish ponds, restored the impacts on the main river caused by the former abstraction points, and reconnected the river to the wider landscape.
Ben Aston, the water company’s technical specialist for ecology, biodiversity and invasive species said the company supported the conservation work being carried out in Yorkshire, particularly the projects being driven forward by its CaBA Catchment Partnerships.
With approximately 28,000 hectares of land, Yorkshire Water is one of the largest landowners in Yorkshire. Much of the land is used to collect the raw water it treats for drinking.
In support of Yorkshire Water, Ellie Barham, regional manager – west at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust commented:
“Partnership working has allowed Yorkshire Water to increase both the breadth and the scale of its works, which in turn has increased the scale and quality of its biodiversity enhancements, habitat improvements and relationships with stakeholders and the local community.
“Ultimately, this way of working will not only have furthered the work completed within the 5 years, it will impact future works too. Congratulations to everyone at Yorkshire Water that worked tirelessly to achieve this recognition” Click here to read more