In the first quarter of 2023, IWater’s environmental licensing body, Society for the Environment confirmed a greater number of new Registered Environmental Practitioner (REnvP) registrations compared to any previous three-month period – an REnvP record quarter.
The record number of environmental practitioners joining the official register during this period is on par with new Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) registrants for the first time.
Reacting to the news, Chief Executive of the Society for the Environment, Dr Emma Wilcox CEnv, said:
“As organisations continue to make steps towards a more sustainable way of working, more professionals with proven environmental competence are needed. Our aim is to have such professionals in every discipline. Our Technician, Practitioner and Chartered professionals are all playing a huge role in creating a more sustainable world.”
Emma adds; “With the introduction of the REnvP less than two years ago, it is heart-warming to now know that this has proven to be both an entry route and a progression pathway for environmental professionals that resonates as we hoped. If you joined the REnvP register in our record-breaking quarter on your journey to CEnv, or if REnvP is the perfect fit for your career, welcome to the community and thank you for leading the way.”
Rob Plews CEng REnvP, Associate Director at The Shadbolt Group, achieved REnvP during Q1 of 2023 via membership of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and noted:
“Bring a Registered Environmental Practitioner compliments my CEng Chartership from IOM3 by confirming that I work in a more varied field beyond core geotechnical work. As a modern geoenvironmental company, recognising that I, and others across the business, have a strong understanding of contaminated land – and how to deal with it – is vital.”
A popular route to REnvP registration is via membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). Martin Baxter CEnv, Deputy CEO at IEMA, commented on the rising number of REnvP professionals:
“There is a growing demand for people with the skills to implement change for a cleaner, greener future. As businesses translate top-line sustainability targets into on-the-ground action, Registered Environmental Practitioner (REnvP) status will become increasingly important as a mark of practical competence in environmental management and protection.”
By becoming a REnvP, you are highlighting that you have been judged by your peers who have found you to be consistently advancing and advocating good environmental practices. To find out more about IWater’s REnvP offering, click HERE
During a special set of events ahead of Earth Day, Engineers Ireland have today unveiled a new, exciting opportunity to their 25,000+ members – Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) professional registration.
The announcement comes ahead of World Earth Day and Ireland’s Overshoot Day, the day when human consumption outstrips nature’s resource budget for the entire year if everyone in the world lived like the Irish population.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Engineers Ireland are the first professional body based outside of the UK to offer CEnv registration to members. They join a collective of 25 professional bodies offering CEnv registration to members all over the world – with 15% of registrants being based outside of the UK already.
Dr Emma Wilcox CEnv, Chief Executive of the Society for the Environment, said “We see environmental professionalism as the vital component in our efforts to build a sustainable future. A workforce with proven, up to date environmental competence, commitment and overall professionalism must be in place across all sectors globally. The engineering community is major part of this, and we encourage current and future Engineers Ireland members to lead the way.
Welcoming the first professional body to our SocEnv family with their HQ outside of the UK is hugely positive. Environmental challenges do not stop at geographical borders. We look forward to broadening our Chartered Environmentalist community and facilitating further professional connections to address the challenges we face and turn opportunities into meaningful results.”
CEnv registration is the internationally recognised gold standard accreditation of environmental competence, commitment and professionalism. Its cross-disciplinary format serves to reflect the scope of sustainability – from engineering to agriculture, ecology to waste management. Professionals in every sector can showcase their knowledge and experience, encouraging positive, well-informed, trusted action in all professions.
It’s time to lead the way.
To become a Chartered Environmentalist with Engineers Ireland, applicants must first be a Chartered Engineer and must be able to demonstrate:
- application of knowledge and understanding of the environment to further the aims of sustainability;
- leadership in sustainable management of the environment;
- effective communication and interpersonal skills; and
- a personal commitment to professional standards, recognising obligations to society, the profession, and the environment.
To find out more about obtaining CEnv registration via Engineers Ireland, visit: engineersireland.ie/Professionals/Membership/Registered-professional-titles/Chartered-Environmentalist
Engineers Ireland join 24 other professional bodies offering CEnv registration to their members, including IWater. To find out more, visit: socenv.org.uk/our-licensed-members
Lintott Control Systems, as part of Galliford Try’s Environment team, has successfully secured a place on two lots on Northumbrian Water’s Chemical Dosing framework.
The works relate to Northumbrian’s Lot 1 Off Site Build Framework and Lot 2 Water and Wastewater Upgrades Framework, each of which will be carried out over a four-year period, with the option to extend for a further four years across the two lots.
David Owen, OSB Director & Asset Optimisation, Galliford Try, commented: “We are delighted to secure our second contract win under the banner of Galliford Try and look forward to working with Northumbrian Water to develop a strong relationship and efficiently deliver against scope. Our off-site build business continues to grow and this contract award is the latest example of our vision to continually look to build on our capabilities and service offering to deliver the needs of our evolving industry.”
Lily Craw, Buyer, Northumbrian Water, said: “We’re delighted to award a long-term framework to Lintott Control Systems. Having a four-year framework in place enables better planning and the building of strategic long-term relationships with our supply chain. We look forward to building a successful and collaborative partnership with Lintott Control Systems.”
The award closely follows Galliford Try’s announcement that its Environment business has been successfully appointed to support Northumbrian Water with additional treatment capacity for the remainder of AMP7.
More than 1,400 households in West Cumbria are the first to receive their water from a brand new £300m pipeline and treatment works.
Since 2015, United Utilities has been constructing a 100km pipeline to provide 80,000 households and businesses in West Cumbria with a more sustainable source of water from Thirlmere reservoir. At the time construction started it was the largest project of its kind in the UK.
A new treatment works and two service reservoirs have also been built. The works at Williamsgate is capable of treating up to 80 million litres of high quality water every day and features the latest technology.
The water treatment works will also be able to harness its own green energy from the force of the water arriving at the plant after it has travelled 30km from Thirlmere Reservoir. The site has been installed with a hydro turbine which can generate 80kW of renewable hydroelectricity – enough to meet 40% of the site’s needs or the equivalent of 175 homes.
The project has provided employment for more than 50 Cumbrian firms and injected over £52m into the local economy. United Utilities has also provided placements for eight young people who were not in employment, education or training and jobs for three apprentices.
As well as facing a global pandemic, United Utilities and its contractors had to work through parts of a national park and take into account environmentally designated sites, archaeological sites and urban areas.
During construction more than 400,000 tonnes of earth was moved at Williamsgate. The excavated earth was retained on site and has now been used to help with the landscaping of the area. The site was designed to merge into the natural contours of the surrounding environment and incorporates a living green roof to mitigate against any visual impact on the landscape.
John Hilton, Project Director at United Utilities, said: “To have the first customers receiving water through their taps from the new treatment works is a fantastic achievement for us. This is one of the largest feats of engineering we’ve ever undertaken at United Utilities and I’m incredibly proud of the work that has been done by all our teams and contractors to deliver it.
“Throughout the project we’ve thought about the local environment we’re working in and have embraced the latest technology to ensure we’ve delivered a treatment works and network that will provide West Cumbria with a more sustainable water supply.”
Previously, this part of Cumbria received their water from Ennerdale and other local sources. Ennerdale, its lake and the River Ehen, are host to protected species and along with a growing population it was decided a more sustainable source was needed and a number of options were reviewed.
All other customers who will be moving onto Thirlmere water are expected to be connected to the new supply by the end of autumn and will receive advance notification of the change.
If you could ask a river what it thinks about what the human race is doing to it the answer is likely to be pretty damning.
Every river in England is polluted and fails on chemical standards. Those in the rest of the UK are a little better, but not by much. Only a tiny fraction of our rivers flow unimpeded: the overwhelming majority are interrupted by dams, weirs or locks for navigation. River channels are straightened, funnelled between flood banks or encased into concrete culverts. So it’s no wonder that even the most important rivers designated for nature conservation are suffering. In England, 89.7% of all riverine SSSIs are in unfavourable status. In Wales it’s 60%, and 36% in Northern Ireland. Across the UK we’ve lost 90% of our wetland habitats over the past 100 years.
At the Institute of Water’s Environment Conference (“Cry me a river”) at the end of May we heard why our freshwater environment is in such a poor state. Sewage pollution coats river beds in fungus, adds nutrients that cause algal blooms (pictured) in some of our most iconic rivers, and inputs pathogens that can affect the health of swimmers and canoeists.
Uncontrolled runoff from roads and urban areas discharges a cocktail of pollutants which damage aquatic ecosystems. Abandoned mines spill acidic water laden with iron and heavy metals. And phosphorus from agriculture, derived from fertilisers as well as animal manures, can have an impact that lasts decades because of the way in which it behaves in the natural environment, creating a legacy effect and transferring impact over a wide area. Excessive abstraction is drying up chalk streams, a globally rare habitat of which some 80% are in England. And then there’s the impact of climate change, affecting river flows and temperatures…
Leading national and international academics and practitioners painted a sorry picture to delegates. But to set the scene, and lend weight to their specialist expertise, the conference opened with an authoritative overview from the Rt Hon Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow and Chair of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee. In conversation with Kirsty Ayres, an IWater young professional, Philip set out the stark conclusions from the EAC’s inquiry into river water quality. The report is a sobering read.
It would be tempting to conclude that what we are facing is a series of technical challenges that we can address through technical solutions, and so halt and reverse the decline. But that’s the simplistic approach which, time and again, has been tried and has failed to do much more than maintain the status quo. So what do we need to do?
The answer came from Dr Dave Tickner, Chief Adviser on rivers at the WWF. Dave advocated that we should ‘think like a river’ and equip professionals to understand the multiple stressors that rivers are subjected to – and to understand that the mistake is to focus on just one. And that we need to think and act at a catchment scale, focusing on the long term recovery of the whole river system.
The chances are that what I’ve described above is resonating with you as a water professional. But not everybody shares our values, and so we need to learn how to tell a story that others will understand, and then want to be part of. Dr Mike Keil from the Consumer Council for Water explained that their research shows that people do care about the water environment, and have high expectations for it. But the technocratic approach often adopted by colleagues in the water sector doesn’t allow us to engage readily with consumers.
We need to develop skills beyond purely technical ones and learn how to join things up, and tell a good story. Because what we have is a great story; we just need to work to ensure that it has a happy ending. Or the generations that follow us will think we were fools.
Professor Ian Barker CEnv HonFSE FIWater
Vice President Environment
As a member of the IWater registered as a CEnv, REnvP or REnvTech, you can highlight your outstanding work by winning at the 2022 #SocEnvAwards. Two prestigious awards are available:
– Environmental Professional of the Year 2022
– Registrant Newcomer of the Year 2022
Nominees must be registered as a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv), Registered Environmental Practitioner (REnvP) or Registered Environmental Technician (REnvTech), but anyone can submit a nomination.
2021 Environmental Professional of the Year, Dan Reading CEnv, said “In terms of career benefits, you certainly gain additional profile, but I find its greatest value is that it provides additional credibility when operating with clients and industries where assurance is paramount.”
Submitting a nomination is free and the deadline for submissions has today been extended to 16:00 BST on the 29th April 2022 following requests to allow more time for those enjoying an Easter break. Submit your nomination, here: https://socenv.org.uk/socenvawards22/
Better rivers will help bring about a better North West. That’s the message from the region’s water company which has today published a series of commitments to kick start a river revival over the next three years.
The four-point plan sets out that United Utilities will:
- make sure the company’s operations progressively reduce impact to river health
- be open and transparent about its performance and plans
- make rivers beautiful, supporting others to improve and care for them and
- create more opportunities for everyone to enjoy rivers and waterways
Most of these pledges will be delivered over the next three years, including investment in wastewater systems, enhanced data monitoring and sharing, greater innovation and more use of nature-based solutions.
For example, at Southwaite in Cumbria a new wetland area is being created which will be able to treat any excess storm water that has to bypass the wastewater treatment works during heavy rainfall. As well as improving the local watercourse, a tributary of the River Eden, the wetland will improve wildlife habitat and create a more beautiful environment for local people.
United Utilities has committed to reduce the number of spills from storm overflows by at least a third, between 2020 and 2025. This will be supported through a £230m investment programme at sites across the region, leading to 184km of improved waterways. The company will also make sure that all storm overflows are monitored by 2023 and real time data on their operation is made available to the general public.
Jo Harrison, Environment, Planning and Innovation Director at United Utilities, said: “As more people have come to appreciate the environment since the pandemic, there’s a real drive to improve our rivers and waterways. People want to swim, to enjoy riverside walks and get back to nature, and we have an important role to play by upgrading the sewerage infrastructure in the region.
“It’s a long term ambition, but we believe we can make some major improvements over the course of this decade, building upon the latest data that shows sewer spills have reduced by 28% between 2020 and 2021.
“But that’s only part of the solution; we can’t do this on our own. River health is affected by many factors so we’ve published this route map to show how we will get our own house in order and help others to get involved and work collaboratively. Ultimately, better rivers are better for everyone across the North West.”
Members of the public will be able to get involved with the plans that are promised. United Utilities will support local groups and authorities with new applications for inland bathing waters, and will also create further recreational clubs at its reservoirs. A community fund will be launched to support local river health initiatives and, working alongside The Rivers Trust, there will be the opportunity for people to volunteer as citizen scientists to collect data on river health which will help inform further improvement work.
Mark Lloyd, CEO of The Rivers Trust, said: “We welcome United Utilities’ focus on driving long term improvements in river health, creating new recreational opportunities and reducing the operation of combined storm overflows.
“United Utilities has been leading the industry with its approach to working in river catchments over the last 20 years and through our strategic partnership we hope to strengthen this significantly over the coming years, to ensure that real improvements in the North West’s rivers are delivered for everyone to enjoy.
“Our joint initiative with the help of citizen scientists to collate better data, provide transparency to the public and monitor progress is vital to success.”
United Utilities is also championing legislation to ban wet wipes that contain plastic and lobbying for a ban on all wet wipes that are not ‘Fine to Flush’. Wet wipes are the scourge of sewer systems because they persist and build up to form blockages which reduce sewer capacity and increase the risk of spills into watercourses.
For further details about United Utilities’ commitments to improve river health in the North West visit: https://www.unitedutilities.com/our-commitments-to-river-health
A ground-breaking partnership between a water company and a nature conservation charity is becoming a must-see destination for policy-makers in the world of nature conservation and rural affairs.
United Utilities and the RSPB have been working together at Haweswater Reservoir over the last ten years to return the land to a more natural state. The project provides a template for how land can be better managed in England’s National Parks, delivering on the Government’s new vision for these landscapes to be rich in nature and driving nature’s recovery. This comes at a crucial time, in the middle of the Government’s consultation on the future of England’s National Parks. It also demonstrates practical steps to achieving the changes required by the new Environment Act; improving air and water quality, halting the decline of species and improving the natural environment.
Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs, Access to Nature and Biosecurity, visited Haweswater to learn more about the scheme.
The quality of the raw water in the reservoir, which serves a quarter of the North West region, is directly affected by the condition of the surrounding catchment land which drains into it.
With improving raw water quality as the starting point for habitat restoration, the partnership has gradually introduced a range of measures drawing on funding from different sources. These have resulted in many benefits including landscape and nature restoration, carbon capture, contributing to reducing downstream flood risk, sustainable livestock production and access improvements.
This includes award-winning schemes such as the re-meandering of Swindale Beck. The river, which had been artificially straightened some 200 years ago to increase grazing land, was put back to a more natural, meandering course, restoring important habitat for salmon, birds and insects, while reducing levels of silt being carried into the reservoir.
Tens of thousands of trees have been planted and 29 miles of moorland drainage ditches have been blocked up to restore peat bogs, reduce soil erosion and lock up carbon. As part of a farming diversification trial into low impact eco-tourism, wildlife photography hides have been created to offer opportunities for visitors to encounter iconic species such as red squirrel, badger and pied flycatcher.
The work at Haweswater also demonstrates how new funding mechanisms can support the rural economy instead of traditional agricultural subsidies. A new native tree and wildflower nursery has been established at Haweswater, with £250,000 of funding from Defra’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund in addition to £150,000 from United Utilities. This is increasing employment and supplying specialist upland trees, shrubs and arctic alpine plants to help the landscape restoration work continue.
Steve Mogford, CEO of United Utilities, said: “Landscape scale restoration projects take long-term vision and a collaborative approach. We’re already seeing the benefits of our joint vision with the RSPB at Haweswater and this is a perfect example of what the Environment Act is trying to achieve. United Utilities has been at the forefront of catchment management for years, but what we have learned is that water companies cannot bring about these changes alone. We hope the Haweswater scheme demonstrates that wider adoption of some of these practices could help bring about the nature recovery that we all want to see.”
Kevin Cox, Chair of the RSPB Council, said: “Our work at Haweswater shows the true power of partnerships. By working together with United Utilities and host of other partners, nature is benefitting from our collective efforts. Restoring land in the uplands is slow, hard work, but with the Nature and Climate Emergency becoming ever more pressing, it’s vital that we act urgently. I hope that our work will inspire others to take similar approaches that benefit water, wildlife and people.”
Lake District National Park Authority’s director of sustainable development, Steve Ratcliffe, added: “The scale of nature recovery at Haweswater is impressive and clearly demonstrates what can be achieved when we commit to working in partnership. Nature recovery through farming is a priority outcome of our Partnership Plan and it was a real pleasure to show the Minister a number of examples of where communities are working together to reverse biodiversity loss and tackle climate change within our cultural landscape. We all need to commit to ensuring this is a success and done urgently.”
Photo shows: L to R: Steve Mogford (CEO United Utilities), Lord Richard Benyon, Kevin Cox (RSPB) and Tiffany Hunt (Deputy Chair of Lake District National Park Authority)
Yorkshire Water has called for a ban on plastics in wet wipes and all single-use sanitary items, as well as an end to ‘Fine to Flush’ labelling and the introduction of mandatory ‘Do Not Flush’ warnings on single use sanitary items packaging.
In evidence supplied to the government, Yorkshire Water has also called for an extension of the responsibility of manufacturers to cover cost of educating customers about correct methods of disposal, and clean-up costs resulting from incorrect disposal.
Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “Wet wipes containing plastic, which do not break down in the sewer like toilet paper, are regularly flushed into our sewer network. These have a significant impact on the operation of our network and can lead to restricted toilet use, sewage entering homes and gardens, sewage escapes into the local environment or pollution to local watercourses.
“We have backed Fleur Anderson’s bill to ban plastics in wet wipes and are urging the government to take further action to ban plastics in all single use sanitary items. We are also calling for the government to increase responsibility of manufacturers of all single use sanitary items to cover cost of educating customers about correct methods of disposal, and the clean-up costs that come from incorrect disposal. We millions of pounds of customers’ bills, money which could be better spent elsewhere, to clear these blockages and believe this cost should be covered by manufacturers of wet wipes and plastic-containing sanitary products.
“We have concerns that the current ‘Fine to Flush‘ standard is not reflective of real-world customer behaviour and means many products that pass the standard still have the potential to cause blockages. The standard sends a confusing message to customers and therefore makes behaviour change more difficult. We believe the government should introduce mandatory ‘Do Not Flush’ labelling of single use sanitary items to remove confusion around what can and can’t be flushed down the toilet.”
The UK uses 11 billion wet wipes per year and 90% of those contain plastic. In 2021, 45% of the blockages Yorkshire Water removed from the sewer network in the region were caused by wet wipes being incorrectly flushed down toilets, costing millions of pounds to resolve.
Across the water industry, blockages caused by baby and toddler wipes, cleaning wipes, and facial and hand wipes cost around £100m to clear
Yorkshire Water will invest up to £13m in its wastewater network and treatment works, upstream of a stretch of the River Wharfe at Ilkley designated as an inland bathing water, to help improve water quality.
The utility company has called on other stakeholders to take steps to tackle additional sources of pollution. The announcement comes as the UK’s first inland bathing water at Ilkley is expected to be rated ‘poor’ by the Environment Agency.
In the year since the bathing water designation, Yorkshire Water has been modelling the catchment around Ilkley to understand the factors influencing water quality.
The modelling has indicated during periods of dry weather the main contributors to background bacteria were from agricultural operations, local domestic waste patterns, misconnections, and treatment works at Beamsley, Draughton and Grassington.
Further modelling will be taking place in the future to increase available data and improve the understanding of all factors influencing water quality in the river.
Yorkshire Water is committing up to £13m investment in a range of measures that aim to improve the Wharfe upstream of the bathing water. Enhanced disinfection measures will be applied to the final effluent returned to the environment at Grassington, Draughton and Beamsley treatment works, much like the measures taken on the coast, to reduce the impact on water quality.
Work will also be carried out to investigate misconnections in the catchment and a scheme to reroute the sewer network in some areas of Ilkley will be carried out to reduce discharges from storm overflows. A project is already underway to upgrade Rivadale CSO as part of this investment.
Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re keen to play our part in improving water quality in the River Wharfe following the first Environment Agency classification of the inland bathing water at Ilkley. Our modelling indicates acting upstream of the bathing water, at our treatment works at Grassington, Draughton and Beamsley, will deliver the greatest benefit in terms of improving water quality via our assets. We are also assessing the pumping station at Addingham and considering green and sustainable solutions.
“We have outlined up to £13m investment in our network that will help to reduce discharges into the river during prolonged spells of rain and reduce the impact of treated effluent being returned to the environment. This funding is over and above existing investment plans for the current five-year period.
“While our investment will help improve water quality, it alone will not guarantee an improvement in the bathing water classification. Our modelling indicates pollution is entering the watercourses from a variety of sources, including misconnections and agricultural land which the river and its tributaries run through. It is important other landowners and stakeholders take action to ensure water quality is improved in the future, with the ultimate aim of improving the bathing water classification.”
Work is already ongoing, in collaboration with Bradford Council and the Environment Agency, to reduce infiltration of surface water into the sewer network from Ilkley Tarn. A smart wastewater network pilot for Ilkley will begin this year to trial using smart monitoring, analytics and control solutions to understand the sewer network from homes to treatment works and, once treated, discharges back into the environment.
It is hoped the pilot will offer real-time, end-to-end management and control of wastewater assets, reducing intermittent discharges from CSOs and sewer flooding, identifying areas for further investment and improving energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions.
Yorkshire Water has also assisted with the iWharfe project, a citizen science initiative conducted by the Ilkley Clean River Group, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and Addingham Environment Group. One of its conclusions was in tributary becks from Bolton Abbey to Ilkley there are occasions during the bathing water season when weather patterns and riverflow behaviour can combine to generate faecal bacteria concentrations in the main river that are unsafe for bathing, independently of discharges from sewage treatment works and combined sewer overflows.