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Tree planting and celebrations at Beddington sewage works

Friday 18th December 2020 11:23

A man in an orange jacket is standing next to a cherry tree

Adrian Wallis, Beddington sewage works site manager celebrates 46 years with Thames Water

Thames Water volunteers have celebrated National Tree Week, by turning Beddington sewage works into a wildlife haven for small birds.

On Tuesday (December 8), 15 budding gardeners helped to plant young trees across the site, which is responsible for treating the wastewater of more than 420,000 customers. 

While swapping their engineering duties to dig holes and plant saplings and hedgerows, the ‘green fingered’ volunteers also planted a special surprise for a Thames Water colleague.  

Three cherry trees were planted to celebrate Adrian Wallis’ 46-year anniversary of working at Thames Water. The site performance manager started his career in 1974 as a scientific officer based at the site laboratory at Hogsmill sewage works, before moving to Beddington in 1980. 

He then completed a chemistry degree and has worked in operational roles looking after sewage works in South London before returning to manage Beddington five years ago.  

Adrian Wallis said: “I’m truly ‘part of the furniture’ here. We provide an essential service to the community and, while not glamorous, the satisfaction of running a site well and being part of a great team is what motivates me. It’s been a pleasure to use the spare space we have at Beddington to benefit the local wildlife by doing the tree planting. We already have some beehives and they for one will appreciate it I’m sure!”

Thames Water is planting 6,420 whips around the perimeter of the sewage works. The trees, hedgerows and sustainable tree guards to protect the young saplings are being sponsored by Brown & Carroll, a UK building fitting manufacturer.

National Tree Week, which runs from November 28 to December 6, is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season (November to March each year).

In November, Thames Water planted nine cherry on The Chase Path in Merton and Brown & Carroll also donated 730 saplings to Walthamstow Wetlands in London, which will provide a habitat for nesting birds and Smooth Newts. 

Further tree planting will take place at Reading sewage works and Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire, which will contribute to the company’s plans to plant at least 100,000 trees on its sites of biodiversity interest in the next five years.

Thames Water ecologist Rebecca Elliott added: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to plant a variety of species that will provide a home for the birds, in particular the sparrows, that visit Beddington. At Thames Water, we care about the environment and communities we work in and by planting trees on our sites we’re helping to increase biodiversity for the benefit of our customers and the local wildlife.”

Planting trees in the right place can provide numerous environmental benefits, such as improving water quality and air quality and enhancing biodiversity. It also benefits local communities by providing additional green spaces for public leisure and recreation and the associated health and wellbeing benefits.

From 2020 to 2025, Thames Water has committed to enhance biodiversity by 5% at 253 of its sites which have biodiversity interest.

In 2018 Thames Water, alongside 11 other UK water and sewerage companies, signed a commitment to collectively plant 11 million trees by 2030.