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Capable Ownership unlocks innovation and funding to create a new habitat

Andrew Page

This case study illustrates: the Project 13 Capable Owner Principle: 'The Enterprise is set up to deliver clearly articulated customer outcomes'

and the Project 13 Governance Principle: 'The Enterprise is rewarded for Outcome performance'.


Anglian Water has worked closely with Norfolk Rivers Trust to create a wetland in Ingoldisthorpe, which will improve the quality of effluent dispersed from a water recycling treatment plant. Using the Project 13 approach, the project was able to challenge traditional practices and focus on outcomes, resulting in significant time and cost savings compared to traditional solutions.


One of the core concerns expressed by Norfolk Rivers Trust was the impact such effluent had on the environment and how this affected the local people and surrounding wildlife. It was vital for Anglian Water to provide a solution that would ensure environmental protection and enhancement in the long-term.


Anglian Water’s biodiversity strategy addresses such solutions and practices; if a biodiversity net gain is to be achieved, traditional methods need to be reviewed and practicality questioned. This is exactly how this project was handled. By working to an ‘outcomes approach’, Anglian Water funded the creation of a wetland, which was designed, built, and managed by Norfolk Rivers Trust.


The new wetland provides natural filtration across the three-hectare site. As well as removing ammonia and phosphate from effluent, this is converted into energy to fuel the surrounding plants and wildlife prior to the water reaching the river.


Chris Gerrard, Biodiversity Manager at Anglian Water, said: “The typical approach to this project would have been to construct additional treatment units across the site. Or devise a system to pump the effluent to a larger treatment centre several miles away. This would have had a significantly negative impact as it would not have allowed the surrounding environment to flourish, nor would it have been future proof. By opting for a wetland, the need to pour any concrete was alleviated, which of course also saved time and reduced the overall costs of the project. To minimise the impact on local people, the project was developed and delivered in under three years.


“Overall, this solution is excellent for the environmental footprint and carbon reduction, highly preferable to enhance and encourage wildlife, and the quality of water is raised substantially. This has been a win all round.”


Anglian Water and Norfolk Rivers Trust’s Ingoldisthorpe project is considered exemplary across industries. To encourage more sustainable practices and to encourage a nation-wide objective of biodiversity net gain, Anglian Water is inviting other water companies and global infrastructure providers to visit Ingoldisthorpe’s new wetland to demonstrate just how beneficial this could be in one of, or each of their regions.


For more information on Anglian Water’s Biodiversity Strategy, visit the website here. 



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