2023 Awards Winner’s Spotlight: Climate and Nature Action 2030

Moor Water

Severn Trent Water & Moors For The Future Partnership

This award was sponsored by:

This project adopts a landscape scale approach. While it is a specific restoration area, it is linked to associated projects considering the whole catchment (e.g. it is linked to a nearby Severn Trent-funded tree-planting project led by the National Trust), and extends an area restored by previous projects.

Key stakeholders comprise the Moors For The Future Partnership (MFFP), Severn Trent Water (ST) and the National Trust (NT). The MFFP carry out the practical elements; ST and NT both provide funding and expertise. The Upper Derwent Valley in Bamford Catchment is jointly owned by ST, the NT and Forestry Commission.

So far, 318 hectares at 3 locations have been planted with sphagnum moss. Moss retains water, supporting varying heathers, microscopic species, invertebrates, frogs, mammals, and birds. Biodiversity and water quality (colouration, sedimentation, heavy metals, DOC and phosphates) are being monitored at several of the replanted sites, with improvements already seen.

Severn Trent has been a partner of MFFP since 2002. The MFFP board ensures that impacts beyond Bamford Catchment are considered and ensures Moor Water links to connected projects to maximise impacts. The restoration project has delayed the need for the water company to build a new water treatment works by 89 years (saving an anticipated £5m plus operational costs), due to the improvement in effluent water quality already from the peatbog. The further investment planned (2025-30) would push the requirement back another 30 years.

Restoring 613 ha of peatbog to favourable condition will save 294,953 tonnes carbon, helping to progress net zero. Moor Water shows nature-based solutions have the potential to halt, then reverse biodiversity loss.

Previous project MoorLIFE returned £4 for every £1 invested in saved water treatment costs, helping keep customer costs low and slowing flow by 20 minutes, increasing local flood resilience. The same is anticipated from Moor Water – water holding capacity and quality has already improved, reducing the release of DOC and phosphates, delaying the need for a new water treatment plant, avoiding further carbon emissions (c.£22.5k in benefit) from new infrastructure.

The Partnership also explicitly works with the local community and actively encourages them to be part of the project via events, meetings, volunteering and monitoring impacts, meaning the impact of the project can be seen and felt beyond the specific area restored. A ‘Bogtastic’ van communicates the importance of peatbogs to the public, engaging 14,000 people over 50 events. By 2025 it will have held another 30 Moor Water events on Severn Trent sites. Public engagement will continue via installation of an information panel and fixed-point photography posts so the public can help monitor the sites restored.

Moor Water has a dedicated webpage and fortnightly social media updates. Final reports and a project video will be uploaded in 2025 for public use. MFFP is engaging local farmers and communities about the benefits of restoring peatland, and taking schools out onto site visits with National Trust.

Youth and school engagement has been carried out by MFFP and the National Trust.

Schools visit-specific locations are being restored to learn about reducing the risk of wildfires, the importance of peatlands, and the benefits of restoration.

Severn Trent’s work aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); The specific goal for SDG target 15.3 is for Severn Trent to restore 809 hectares of peatland across England and Wales by 2025. There are another 5 locations already identified for Moor Water to improve.

We will be posting further information on each of the 2023 Awards Winners over on our blog.