|Public limited company (plc)|
|Traded as||LSE: SVT|
FTSE 100 Component
|Headquarters||Coventry, England, United Kingdom|
|Midlands, South West|
|Revenue||£1,694.1 million (2018)|
|£528.4 million (2018)|
|£253.7 million (2018)|
Severn Trent plc is a water company based in the United Kingdom 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 company, applies to a group of companies employing more than 15,000 people across the United Kingdom, United States 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 and give it a single worldwide image rather than a series of separate organisations with different identities. As with all water companies in the United Kingdom, Severn Trent is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991.
Severn Trent Water Authority was established in 1974, through the amalgamation of existing water supply authorities, the Severn River Authority, the Trent River Authority and the sewage and sewage disposal responsibilities of the councils within its area.
In 1989, the authority was privatised under the Water Act 1989, together with the rest of the water industry in England and Wales, to form Severn Trent Water, with a responsibility to supply freshwater and treat sewage for around 8 million people living in the Midlands of England and also a small area of Wales.
In October 2006, Biffa was de merged from the group Severn Trent, and is now listed separately on the stock exchange. In January 2007, the American side of Severn Trent Laboratories was sold to HIG Capital. In September 2007, the company announced they would be closing their headquarters in Birmingham and relocating to a custom-built office complex in the centre of the city of Coventry in the autumn of 2010.
In May 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority granted United Utilities and Severn Trent Water approval to create a new joint venture company in preparation for the water market deregulation. In June 2016, United Utilities and Severn Trent Water formed Water Plus in readiness to provide the retail services for their non household customers.
Statutory water undertakers acquired
The water authority took over the following public-sector statutory water undertakers:
- Birmingham Corporation Water Department
- the water supply department of Coventry Corporation
- the water supply department of Leicester Corporation
- City of Nottingham Water Department
- the water supply department of Stafford Corporation
- the water supply department of Wolverhampton Corporation
- the water supply department of Cannock Rural District Council
- Central Nottinghamshire Water Board
- East Shropshire Water Board
- Montgomeryshire Water Board
- North Derbyshire Water Board
- North East Warwickshire Water Board
- North West Gloucestershire Water Board
- North West Leicestershire Water Board
- North West Worcestershire Water Board
- Rugby Joint Water Board
- South Derbyshire Water Board
- South Warwickshire Water Board
- South West Worcestershire Water Board
- Staffordshire Potteries Water Board
- West Shropshire Water Board
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 – 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:
- Derwent Valley Water Board
- River Dove Water Board
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:
- Trent River Authority
- Severn Trent Authority
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 company supplies about 4.5 million households and businesses in its area. 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.
Regulation and criticism
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.
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. In July 2008, the company was fined £2m (reduced from a previous judgement of £4m) for poor information reporting and covering up misleading leakage data.
Despite improvements, according to Ofwat, the percentage of leakages from 2010 to 2011 was the highest in England and Wales, at 27%, representing 0.5 billion litres (500,000 tonnes) per day. On March 11, 2016, Severn Trent customers in Derbyshire were issued a "do not use" notice due to high levels of chlorine detected in the water supply, leaving thousands of households without a clean, reliable water supply.
The company operates a number of reservoirs, many of which are accessible for recreational use. These include:
- Carsington Reservoir – River Derwent compensation flow pumped storage facility
- Clywedog reservoir
- Upper Derwent Valley (Derwent, Howden and Ladybower Reservoirs) – Built by the Derwent Valley Water Board to supply the cities of Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Leicester
- Draycote Water
- Foremark Reservoir
- Lake Vyrnwy
- Shustoke Reservoir
- Tittesworth reservoir
- Ogston Reservoir, in the Amber Valley
- Linacre Reservoirs (non operational since 1995)
- Severn Trent Water also runs the filtration works at the Elan Valley Reservoirs
- Biffa plc (formerly a subsidiary of Severn Trent, which was de merged)
- "Annual Results 2018" (PDF). Severn Trent. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
- "Severn Trent Water Authority, 1974-1989". University of Nottingham. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "Working within the community". severntrent.com. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- Mark Milner. "Severn Trent to split its waste and water operations". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- HIG Capital affiliate completes acquisition of Severn Trent Laboratories
- "Birmingham Post: Business news, local news, expert opinion". birminghampost.net. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "We're sorry..." stwater.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Severn Trent and United Utilities win approval for joint venture". The Telegraph. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- The Severn-Trent Water Authority Constitution Order 1973 (S.I. 1973 No.1437)
- "Water Act 1973: Water Authorities and Local Authorities" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- Severn Trent About us
- "Coventry's new Severn Trent Centre opens to staff". Coventry Telegraph. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- "Battle to restore water begins". This is Gloucestershire. Retrieved 24 July 2007.[permanent dead link]
- Ofwat confirms Severn Trent Water fine, 2 July 2008, PN 21/08, Ofwat Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- "Just £2m penalty for Severn Trent lies over water leaks - This is Money". This is Money. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "How much does your water company leak?". BBC news. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- "People in Derbyshire told not to use water after high chlorine scare". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "About Linacre Reservoirs". Severn Trent Water website. Severn Trent Water. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.