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Severn Trent

Severn Trent plc
Public limited company (plc)
Traded as LSE: SVT
Industry Water industry
Founded 1974 (1974)
Headquarters Coventry, England, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Production output
  • 1.8 Gl/day (drinking)
  • 1.4 Gl/day (recycled)
Revenue £1,856.7 million (2014)[1]
£472.4 million (2014)[1]
£434.9 million (2014)[1]
Website .com.severntrentwww

Severn Trent plc is a UK water company that is traded on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Severn Trent, the trading name owned by the above company applies to a group of companies employing more than 15,000 people across the UK, US and mainland Europe, with some involvement in the Middle East.

The main companies in the group are Severn Trent Water and Severn Trent Services.

Severn Trent Laboratories was rebranded as part of Severn Trent Services in 2010 to streamline the company better and to give a single worldwide image, rather than a series of separate organisations with different identities.

As with all UK water companies, Severn Trent is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991.


  • History 1
    • Statutory water undertakers acquired 1.1
    • Other organisations and functions acquired 1.2
  • Operations 2
  • Regulation and criticism 3
    • High leakages rate 2008-11 3.1
    • 2008 3.2
    • Effect of the Summer 2007 United Kingdom floods 3.3
  • Reservoirs 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Company was established in 1974 as the Severn Trent Water Authority, one of the ten water authorities in England formed under the Water Act 1973, to supply fresh water and treat sewage for around 8 million people living in the Midlands of England and also a small area of Wales.[2] It took its name from the two major rivers in this area, the Severn and the Trent.[2] It was privatised in 1989[2] and in 1991 it went on to acquire Biffa, a leading waste management business.[2]

In October 2006 Biffa was demerged from the Severn Trent group and is now listed separately on the Stock Exchange.[3] In January 2007 the American side of Severn Trent Laboratories was sold to HIG Capital.[4] In September 2007 the company announced they would be closing their headquarters in the city of Birmingham and relocating to a custom built office complex in the centre of the city of Coventry in autumn 2010.[5][6]

In the financial year ending 2011 investment was made to reduce leaks, achieving a 7% reduction to a record low level, and below the maximum leakage level specified under the Ofwat target for the company.[1]

In January 2012, more than 200 employees moved into a new 29,000 square feet (2,700 m2) office building in Coventry.[1] A new item of spending, a Carbon Reduction Commitment of £5.9 million was paid in 2011-12.[1]

Statutory water undertakers acquired

The water authority took over the following public sector statutory water undertakers:[7]

Section 12 of the Water Act 1973 stated that “where the area of a water authority includes the whole or part of the limits of supply of a statutory water company, the authority shall discharge their duties with respect to the supply of water within those limits through the company.” The following two private statutory water companies continued to supply water as before within their limits as supply but only as "agents" of the water authority:

  • East Worcestershire Waterworks Company - as from 1 September 1993 the water undertaking of this company was transferred to Severn Trent as per The East Worcester and Severn Trent Water (Amendment of Local Enactments etc.) Order 1993 (S.I. 1993 No. 2130)
  • South Staffordshire Waterworks Company

The water authority remained responsible for sewerage and sewage disposal within the limits of supply of these two companies.

Other organisations and functions acquired

The water authority took over the following public sector bulk water suppliers:

The water authority took over the following main drainage authorities, which were joint boards set up to deal with the main sewerage and sewage treatment in their respective areas:

  • Upper Tame Main Drainage Authority
  • Upper Stour Main Drainage Authority

It took over two river authorities, responsible for control of water pollution:

The water authority took over the functions responsible for sewerage and sewage disposal from all local authorities, including main drainage authorities, within its area, however section 15 of the Water Act 1973 allowed district (but not county) councils to enter into agency agreements with water authorities whereby the district councils became their "agents" for the maintenance and design and construction of new sewers. The then Severn-Trent Water Authority entered into a number of such agreements with generally the larger of the district councils within its area (i.e. the city councils of Birmingham and Nottingham, etc.), and such agency agreements continued even post-privatisation until Severn-Trent Water terminated all of these in 2000/01.


The company supplies about 3.7m households and businesses in its area.[8] Severn Trent Water has a call centre in Coventry dealing with operational emergencies and billing enquiries, and two other call centres in Derby and Shrewsbury which deal solely with billing enquiries. Its head office is the new custom-built "Severn Trent Centre" in Coventry. As of 2012, Severn Trent supplied 1.8 gigalitres per day (Gl/day) of drinking water from 126 water treatment works to 4.6 million business and household customers across a 46,000 kilometres (29,000 mi) network of water mains. It likewise collected and treated 1.4 Gl/day of wastewater across a 92,000 kilometres (57,000 mi) sewer network to 1,026 sewage treatment works.[1]

Regulation and criticism

Like other water companies in England, Severn Trent Water is regulated by OFWAT, the Water Services Regulation Authority.

High leakages rate 2008-11

Despite improvements, according to Ofwat, the percentage of leakages in 2010-2011 was the highest in England and Wales at 27% representing 0.5 billion litres (500,000 tonnes) per day.[9] The total employees in the company during 2008, that in common with the industry uses increasingly contractors and has combined some treatment works, was 8,768, a higher level than in 2011.[1]


In July 2008, OWAT confirmed that it had fined Severn Trent Water £35.8 million for deliberately providing false information to Ofwat and for delivering poor service to its customers.[10]

In 2008 the Company was fined £2m (reduced from a previous judgement of £4m) for poor information reporting and covering up misleading leakage data.[11]

Effect of the Summer 2007 United Kingdom floods

In July 2007 the Mythe Water Treatment Works near Tewkesbury became inundated with water from the River Severn during the Summer 2007 United Kingdom floods. The water coming into the plant was contaminated and this led to the loss of all running water for approximately 150,000 people in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury.[12]


The company operates a number of reservoirs, many of which are accessible for recreational use. These include:

See also

  • Biffa plc (formerly a subsidiary of Severn Trent which was demerged)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Preliminary Results 2014" (PDF). Severn Trent. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Working within the community". Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Mark Milner. "Severn Trent to split its waste and water operations". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  4. ^ HIG Capital affiliate completes acquisition of Severn Trent Laboratories
  5. ^ "Birmingham Post: Business news, local news, expert opinion". Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "We're sorry...". Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  7. ^ The Severn-Trent Water Authority Constitution Order 1973 (S.I. 1973 No.1437)
  8. ^ Severn Trent About us
  9. ^ "How much does your water company leak?". BBC news. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Ofwat confirms Severn Trent Water fine, 2 July 2008, PN 21/08, Ofwat
  11. ^ "Just £2m penalty for Severn Trent lies over water leaks - This is Money". This is Money. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Battle to restore water begins". This is Gloucestershire. Retrieved 24 July 2007. 
  13. ^ "About Linacre Reservoirs". Severn Trent Water website. Severn Trent Water. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 

External links

  • Severn Trent Water Homepage
  • Severn Trent PLC
  • Severn Trent Services Analytical Services, formerly Severn Trent Laboratories
  • Severn Trent Company Information
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