A vision for major improvements to the Leam and Avon rivers was shared with local community leaders and stakeholders at a meeting hosted by Severn Trent on Friday 7 October.
An audience which included representatives from the District, County and local Parish Councils, Environment Agency, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and other key river users were given an insight into exciting plans, which would see around £78m invested into 50km of the region’s rivers as part of Severn Trent’s Green Recovery Plan.
Wilfred Denga, Bathing Rivers Lead said: “It’s been wonderful to be able to share our vision for the project here in Warwick District. We had a diverse audience that are really invested in what’s happening in their area, demonstrating just how important our rivers and their environments are to us all.”
At the same meeting, the Leader of Warwick District, Councillor Andrew Day gave a presentation outlining plans for the creation of Elizabeth Park, a new Leam riverside open space stretching from Princes Drive in Leamington to Emscote Road bridge in Warwick. Subject to raising the balance of the investment funding required, this new destination park would provide safe, off-road, foot and cycle connections, board walks enabling improved connections to the river, recreational areas and riverbank public swimming areas.
Cllr Day said: “Severn Trent’s plans to improve water quality offer significant benefits for our residents. The Bathing Rivers scheme creates an opportunity to establish a new park in memory of our late Queen, where young and old alike will be able to come and enjoy a range of water-based and waterside activities. This scheme would improve the connection for active travel between Leamington and Warwick, enhance the biodiversity of a river flood plain area and re-establish an easily accessible green space, suitable for a wide range of community uses.
As well as improving over 50km of river, benefitting the River Leam and Avon in Warwickshire, and the Teme in Shropshire, the company is also making improvements to its waste treatment works and overflows and is running the largest monitoring programme the industry has seen, helping to provide valuable insights and data on the quality of river water, so it can make the improvements needed.
Severn Trent have also announced the implementation of pioneering ozone technology to help clean wastewater, a move that is set to revolutionise the future of wastewater treatment.
Wilfred Denga added: “We’re really thankful to everyone who made the effort to come to this session and for the valuable input they made. Without the input from our communities, this project will not be successful – as after all, we’re doing this work so that those who live here, or visit, can benefit from healthier, cleaner rivers.”
“We would like our communities to be able to keep up to date with our work, and have created a project specific webpage for people to get updates and even get in touch”
The Severn Trent bathing rivers project also reinforces the company’s commitment to Get River Positive by ensuring 90% of people in the Midlands live within an hour’s drive of a bathing water site by 2030.
Find out more about bathing rivers.