A close-up picture of a single brilliant mauve and purple bee orchid, photographed at our Covenham Water Treatment Works in Lincolnshire.

Our sites are great places for wildlife to thrive, as there is little disturbance and herbicide and pesticide use is kept to a minimum. Among our thousands of landholdings are 49 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

SSSIs

SSSIs are Sites of Special Scientific Interest - locations where the habitats and species are protected by law.

We have grasslands that support a wide variety of plants, such as the bee orchid, and our management of those areas has been changed accordingly enabling it to flourish. At some of our water recycling centres we have recorded more than 130 bird species using the sites for feeding and nesting. Bats find them very useful to feed on to.

We are directly responsible for the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on our landholdings. The condition of each SSSI is assessed by Natural England, with the highest grade being 'Favourable'. Our target is to have 95 per cent of SSSIs in Favourable condition by 2010. Any site found to be 'Unfavourable' has an action plan drawn up to restore the condition.

For more details on SSSI condition, visit Natural England's website.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. All plants and animals make up a complex ecosystem that is finely balanced and needs to be conserved.

We have produced a biodiversity field guide book to help Anglian Water staff identify the protected species that could be found on our sites. The guide explains current legislation, how to identify species, why they are threatened and what can be done to halt their decline. It also describes how to create and manage different types of habitats, look out for unwanted non-native species and includes a survey form to record all of this information. These surveys will expand our knowledge of the biodiversity value of our sites.