Severn Trent

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Severn Trent plc
TypePublic limited company (plc)
FTSE 100 Component
IndustryWater industry
Founded1989; 34 years ago (1989)
HeadquartersCoventry, England, UK
Area served
Midlands, South West
Key people
Production output
  • 1.8 Gl/day (drinking)
  • 1.4 Gl/day (recycled)
RevenueIncrease £1,943.3 million (2022)[1]
Increase £508.3 million (2022)[1]
Decrease £(87.2) million (2022)[1]
Number of employees
7,000 (2022)[2]

Severn Trent plc is a water company based in Coventry, England. It supplies 4.6 million households and business across the Midlands and Wales.

It is traded on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Severn Trent, the trading name owned by the company, applies to a group of companies operating across the United Kingdom, United States and mainland Europe, with some involvement in the Middle East. It took its name from the two predecessor River Authorities, which managed the catchment of the Severn and the Trent.[3]


The Severn Trent Water Authority was established in 1974.[4] In July 1989, the Severn Trent Water Authority was partially privatised under the Water Act 1989, together with the rest of the water supply and sewage disposal 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.[3]

In May 1991, it went on to acquire Biffa, a waste management business.[3] In October 2006, Biffa was de merged from the group Severn Trent, and was subsequently listed separately on the London Stock Exchange.[5] In January 2007, the American side of Severn Trent Laboratories was sold to HIG Capital.[6]

In 1993 the company acquired East Worcester Water plc, a former statutory water company whose area was surrounded by Severn Trent's existing water supply area, and the operations were merged.[7]

In September 2007, the company announced they would be closing its headquarters in Birmingham and relocating to a custom built office complex in the centre of Coventry in the autumn of 2010.[8][9]

In June 2016, Severn Trent Water and United Utilities formed Water Plus in preparation for the water market deregulation, to provide the retail services for their non household customers, after being granted approval by the Competition & Markets Authority.[10]

In 2017 Severn Trent plc acquired Dee Valley Water, a water-only company with an area adjoining Severn Trent Water's own. In 2018 the areas of the two operating companies were adjusted so that Hafren Dyfrdwy (the new name for the Dee Valley company) took on all Severn Trent Water's water supply and wastewater operations in Wales, and the small area of the former Dee Valley operation within England (an exclave at Chester) became part of Severn Trent Water.[11]


The main companies in the group are Severn Trent Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy 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.[12]

As of 2021, the company supplies about 4.6 million households and businesses in its area,[13] rising from 3.7 million in 2008.[14] 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.[15]

Regulation and criticism[edit]

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.[16]

In July 2008, OFWAT 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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

Year 2014-15[20] 2015-16[20] 2016-17[20] 2017-18[20] 2018-19[21] 2019-20[21] 2020-21[21]
Volume (million litres per day) 440 429 424 446 417.8 398.8 410.2

On 11 March 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.[22]


Photograph of part of the Ladybower Reservoir showing two road viaducts crossing the water
The Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire is one of three Severn Trent reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley

The company operates a number of reservoirs, many of which are accessible for recreational use. These include:[23]

See also[edit]

  • Biffa (formerly a subsidiary of Severn Trent, which was de merged)


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2022" (PDF). Severn Trent. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Creating an awesome place to work". Severn Trent. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Working within the community". Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Severn Trent Water Authority, 1974-1989". University of Nottingham. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  5. ^ Mark Milner (4 April 2006). "Severn Trent to split its waste and water operations". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  6. ^ HIG Capital affiliate completes acquisition of Severn Trent Laboratories
  7. ^ "Severn buys East Worcester Water". The Independent. 27 February 1993. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Birmingham Post: Business news, local news, expert opinion". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  9. ^ "We're sorry..." Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Severn Trent and United Utilities win approval for joint venture". The Telegraph. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Ofwat confirms Severn Trent and Dee Valley licence changes". WWT. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Judgement: The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd and another (Respondents) v United Utilities Water Plc (Appellant)" (PDF). Supreme Court. p. 2. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Severn Trent Water Limited Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2021" (PDF). Severn Trent. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  14. ^ Severn Trent About us
  15. ^ "Coventry's new Severn Trent Centre opens to staff". Coventry Telegraph. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Battle to restore water begins". This is Gloucestershire. Retrieved 24 July 2007.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Ofwat confirms Severn Trent Water fine, 2 July 2008, PN 21/08, Ofwat Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Severn Trent Water is fined £2m over false leakage data". The Independednt. 2 July 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  19. ^ "How much does your water company leak?". BBC News. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  20. ^ a b c d "Water supply: Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. UIN 116503, tabled on 17 November 2020". UK Government. 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  21. ^ a b c "Water supply: Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. UIN 17959, tabled on 14 June 2022". UK Parliament. 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  22. ^ "People in Derbyshire told not to use water after high chlorine scare". The Guardian. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Our Reservoirs". Severn Trent. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  24. ^ "About Linacre Reservoirs". Severn Trent Water website. Severn Trent Water. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.

External links[edit]