Thursday 28th November 2019 12:00
Eco-friendly teams at Thames Water celebrated National Tree Week by planting dozens of saplings and foliage at the company’s sites across the region.
Staff spent several days this week swapping their day jobs for shovels and bags of compost as they marked the annual event, helping to increase biodiversity at operational sites in the process.
They included a team from Spencer House in Reading who visited the nearby Reading sewage treatment works on Monday (Nov 25) to plant 13 new fruit trees.
The group of 11, one of whom was on his first day working for the company, dug holes more than a foot deep in the grounds of the works off Island Road before planting the cherry, plum and rowan trees.
They worked up a sweat as they had to contend with muddy ground, rocks and even lumps of metal as they dug, before ensuring the site was clean and tidy after the trees were safely planted.
The site has saved the equivalent of 10 trees over the past two years by cutting down on its paper use, electricity consumption and plastic waste, as well as encouraging eco-friendly practices like recycling.
Thames Water ecologist Rebecca Elliott said: “Any trees we plant give environmental benefits such as carbon neutrality, improving air and water quality, reducing flooding and increasing biodiversity.
“This is in addition to the numerous social and community benefits provided by the addition of a green space and the associated health and wellbeing improvements.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to plant new trees across our sites and thank all the staff that made this possible.
“We already have more tree planting initiatives in the works for other sites and want to encourage every operational site to plant a tree.”
On Tuesday, (Nov 26), a team from Thames Water’s Kingsclere sewage treatment works in Thatcham planted new hedging to create a green glade for staff.
Representatives from the company also attended the launch of Trees for Reading, an initiative by action group Ethical Reading to enhance greenery in the town.
The staff were making use of Thames Water’s “time to give” policy, which allows all employees two days per year, in addition their annual leave, to volunteer for charitable causes.
As part of its proposed new £10.9 billion business plan, Thames Water has pledged to enhance biodiversity by five per cent across 250 sites of its sites. Last year, the company also joined 11 other water companies by signing a commitment to plant 11 million trees by 2030.
The company has surveyed the existing trees on almost 3,000 operational sites and allocated £500,000 for the planting of native species.