Northumbrian Water has pledged to continue to invest in environmental improvements after maintaining its top rating under the Environment Agency’s (EA) annual assessment. 

The water company has today received four stars, the highest level attainable, in the EA’s Environmental Performance Assessment for 2021, equalling its rating from 2020 in what the Agency has described as “sustained industry-leading” performance.


The rating reflects leading environmental practices. However, with £700 million of investment in work to benefit the environment in its 2020 to 2025 business plan, and work underway on planning for the following five year period, the company maintains a strong focus on continual improvement.


2021 saw a number of environmental initiatives continue to grow for Northumbrian Water.


The water supplier’s bluespaces team has now supported enhancements to more than 64km of environment around water and is developing and delivering projects to deliver 250km of bluespace improvements across our North East, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk catchments in our regions by 2025. This dedicated team was established in 2020 to deliver improvements to wildlife and biodiversity, water quality and access for visitors to the region’s watercourses. 


The company has also expanded its Bin the Wipe campaign, helping to protect homes and the environment. From the start of the campaign in April 2020 to the end of 2021, we reduced blockages by 49% in the postcode areas targeted, compared with the previous four year average. The campaign’s success has attracted national attention and is to be adopted across the water industry.


Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, said: “A huge amount of hard work has gone into maintaining this Four Star rating, which is the highest achievable in the Environmental Performance Assessment.


“2021 was a year filled with challenges, such as major storms, but our teams worked tirelessly in the face of such incidents. For example, when Storm Arwen saw us lose power to some 60 sites, many of them in remote locations, we worked around the clock to protect the environment, liaising closely with the Environment Agency.


“With 32 of the region’s 34 bathing waters rated as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ in the most recent Defra classifications – the two highest standards possible – and a new set of pledges to deliver improvements for rivers, we will continue to press ahead with our ambitions to have the best beaches and rivers in the country. 


“We have already taken a valuable step in that direction in 2022, with a sector-leading partnership with The Rivers Trust that will help inform investment to benefit water and the environment in our region.


“Our investment of £700m in work to benefit the environment during our 2020 to 2025 period is something we will look to build on when planning for beyond that time, because we know that there is always more that can be done, that we want to do, and that our customers and regulators expect.”