Water company showcases delivery of £448m of capital investment and completion of 520 environmental schemes despite challenges of pandemic and winter weather.
Anglian Water has today published its Annual Integrated Report 2021, highlighting the delivery of its full planned capital investment programme – its largest ever in the first year of a business plan period - and completion of almost double the number of environmental schemes planned for the year (520 versus a target of 280). The environmental schemes were delivered as part of the Water Industry National Environment Programme, through which Anglian has secured £300 million of accelerated investment in river restoration, abstraction reduction and natural capital schemes.
The company has beaten its leakage target for the 10th year running and met 81 per cent of its stretching regulatory performance commitments, despite facing challenges including Covid-19, the wettest winter for more than 100 years and the redetermination of its Business Plan for 2020-2025 by the Competition and Markets Authority.
In addition to beating its leakage target, Anglian also delivered its best-ever performance on interruptions to supply and water recycling compliance despite unprecedented customer demand in the summer of 2020. Earlier this week it was announced that Anglian has also regained its three-star Environmental Performance Assessment rating from the Environment Agency, having delivered a 20 per cent reduction in pollutions during the year and safeguarded water supplies.
Alongside maintaining its focus on operational commitments and capital investment, Anglian also launched the £1 million Positive Difference Fund to support community groups through Covid-19, supporting over 100,000 people through more than 160 community groups.
The company supported almost 320,000 customers facing affordability challenges, and signposted customers struggling to pay to more than £4 million-worth of potential unclaimed benefits. More than 175,000 customers who need a little extra help are now signed up to its Priority Services Register.
Support for Anglian’s people through Covid-19 has included the creation of hundreds of safe workplaces, ongoing support for colleagues’ mental and physical wellbeing through the 24-hour Employee and the launch of an Employee Assistance Fund
Lateral endorsement for Anglian during the year included The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development for a second time and the Utility Week awards for Employer of the Year. The company also picked up two awards for its work towards reaching net zero carbon by 2030 (winning Net Zero Carbon initiative of the year at both the Water Industry Awards and the Utility Week Awards).
The company’s strong track record on carbon enabled it to launch a world first last month, with a £300 million sustainability-linked bond connected directly to achieving its newly set interim carbon targets by 2025.
The bond launch followed the announcement of a new streamlined financial structure designed to enable further reduction in the gearing of the company in the interest of customers and investors, the environment, and the long-term viability of the business. The structure was the final step in a process begun in 2018, in which the water company set out to simplify its financial structures to improve transparency, trust and customer confidence and solidified its commitment to put wider public purpose at the heart of the business.
Commenting on the year’s results, Chief Executive Peter Simpson said:
“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in the face of some astonishing obstacles – not least the pandemic, of course, which saw us put more water into supply than we ever have in the history of the company, in parallel with adapting our operations to keep our customers and our employees safe. We also faced one of the wettest winters our region has faced in 100 years, supporting our customers through some of the most widespread and enduring flooding we have seen in the East of England.
“We’ve delivered a really significant programme of capital investment, investing £448 million in long-term resilient infrastructure for our region, and we’ve maintained our focus on safeguarding and enhancing our environment through the 520 schemes and £300 million of investment through the Water Industry National Environment Programme.
“When it counted most, our people and partners have carried on delivering through ever-changing circumstances. And despite the many challenges of the year, we’ve maintained our focus on our purpose: to bring environmental and social prosperity to the region we serve through our commitment to Love Every Drop. To that end we have set out our commitments to our region and our communities through our five-point plans for green recovery and community recovery.
“Looking ahead, we know there are areas that need our relentless focus in the months and years to come. We must continue on the path we have set towards achieving zero pollutions, and we commit to working with the Government and other agencies to ensure growth in our region is sustainable and takes into account the infrastructure required to support it. We also know there is more work to do to protect our environment, improve river water quality and help our unique chalk stream habitats to thrive.
“We will never pause in our determination to create a sustainable future or to deliver industry-leading performance. Working with our people, our partners and our regulators, we will continue to push boundaries and make the changes needed to deliver the social and environmental prosperity we all want to see.”