World-first £40m net-zero sewage works to be built in Staffordshire 

May 26, 2023

Severn Trent’s almost £40 million project will transform the large, carbon intensive Wastewater Treatment Plant at Strongford, near Barlaston, into the world’s first retro-fit carbon neutral site. 

The new hub has just been awarded £10 million from the Ofwat Innovation Fund and a further £900,000 has been secured through EU research initiative Horizon Europe

Severn Trent will be investing £28 million into the scheme, with work set to start in September. 

The investment will see the integration of technologies to reduce and remove carbon – eradicating 34,000 tonnes of carbon per year, which is equivalent to a person flying return between London and New York, 34,500 times. 

The new hub, which is already home to ground-breaking technology, is expected to put the Midlands on the map for innovative wastewater management, whilst creating a ‘blueprint’ for all water companies to help them achieve their net zero commitments. 

It is also said to have the potential to change the face of wastewater management around the world. 

Severn Trent CEO Liv Garfield said: “Combatting the climate emergency to protect generations to come is a challenge that requires everyone to reinvent ways of working. 

“This commitment to create the world’s first carbon neutral hub has the possibility of changing the face of wastewater treatment worldwide. The impact of this cannot be underestimated given emissions from wastewater are 80 per cent of our operational emissions, and the hub will solve that.” 

She added: “Coming together to share ideas and collaborating to combat climate change is key, that’s why we’re committed to sharing our carbon neutral hub’s blueprint with all other water companies, so wastewater treatment plants around the world can be retrofitted with these new technologies that we’re rolling out at scale.    

“Bringing this innovation to Staffordshire will also bring jobs and green skills, as there are even more novel technologies in the pipeline that will be tested and refined here in years to come, thanks to the investment and support from all of our partners including Ofwat’s Innovation Fund.” 

The project is backed by all UK and Irish water companies and is part of an international net zero partnership with Aarhus Vand in Denmark and Melbourne Water in Australia. 

Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo, MD of Melbourne Water, said: “The insights from the Net Zero Hub will help determine and present an emissions-reducing roadmap, which can provide global benefits. 

“I hope this will drive new technologies that attract further research and development funding to help all of us achieve our net zero goals.” 

Severn Trent has also secured an additional £1.3 million from Ofwat for an innovative project to tackle leaks by using fibre-optic cables. 

And Daily Focus reported yesterday (24 May) that it is creating 1,000 jobs across the Midlands over the next two years after annual results showed a turnover of £2.16 billion in its last financial year. 

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