About our partners – Anglian Water Services

5 October, 2021


We asked one of our programme partners for the Water theme, Anglian Water Services, to explain more about their work and how it connects with the aims of the COP Resilience Hub.

Our Purpose is to bring environmental and social prosperity to the region we serve through our commitment to Love Every Drop

In our 25-year Strategic Direction Statement, we set four long-term ambitions to help guide our planning – all of which relate to climate change. We have been taking action to manage our key risks from climate change since the 1990s.  Despite our long-term efforts to embed climate change into everything we do, we recognise that there is much more to do to make the East of England resilient to the impact of drought and flooding. 

Anglian Water has a strong track record of collaborating with policy makers, industry and others to drive action on climate change. For example, our CEO, Peter Simpson, is co-chair of the Corporate Leaders Group.  Other successful collaborations include the development of PAS2080, the  global standard for managing infrastructure carbon which grew out of our involvement in HM Treasury’s Infrastructure Carbon Review and the Green Construction Board.

We have had a longstanding focus on climate adaptation, having contributed to the last three five-yearly rounds of adaptation reporting under the Adaptation Reporting Power, which sees key organisations across the UK invited to share their plans and action with government. Our most recent Adaptation Report (published December 2020) was the first submitted by any organisation for the latest round of reporting.

In 2020 we joined CDP’s global A list for our response to climate change. We have gained a huge amount of learning from other organisations over the years – and in turn are keen to share our own learnings if they can support and inspire others to take action.

We supply water to more than 4 million customers in the East of England and Hartlepool, and recycle water safely back to the environment for more than 6 million.

Our region – low lying, with a long coastline and low rainfall – is particularly susceptible to climate change. Water resources are already scarce, and rising temperatures will reduce them further, with the threat of more frequent droughts. Yet at the same time, rising sea levels and more intense rainfall will also lead to more flooding.

These challenges would be significant even with a static population, but our region is one of the fastest growing outside London, with 175,000 new homes expected to be built by 2025 (without factoring in the proposed Oxford-Cambridge Arc) and population growth of up to a million people likely by 2040.

With growth most likely in the areas where supply is most stretched, the risk of flooding is greatest, and the environment most under pressure, the need to adapt to new climate realities is acute. In words attributed to climate expert James P Bruce, “if climate change is the shark, water is its teeth”. We must take action now to drive future resilience in our region.

We hope that our work will help to raise the profile of resilience and adaptation to climate change to give it an equal priority with mitigation. 

We want to make a positive and optimistic contribution, showing that it is possible to deliver climate resilience alongside social, environmental and economic prosperity, highlighting the opportunities that arise from well-delivered adaptation, rather than focusing solely on the risks we must collectively manage.

Our primary goal in engaging with COP26 is to develop new and deeper collaborations which deliver action on climate change regionally and globally.

Through the planning of our events we are already forging new global connections which will result in knowledge sharing and, we hope, ongoing partnerships that will accelerate progress on driving resilience.

COP26 provides an unparalleled opportunity for progressive organisations to come together in the public interest to foster collaboration and drive immediate action. We have much to share, but also – and more importantly – much to learn.

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