Our strategic direction

Our eight outcomes for the next 25 years address key challenges concerning climate change, affordability, biodiversity and service excellence.

Our strategy

We support all aspects of life in our region. Safe and reliable water and wastewater services are essential for our day-to-day lives, our wellbeing and our natural world.

Our long-term strategy has been developed in partnership with more than 1,600 customers, businesses, employees and stakeholders.

The eight outcomes below have been co-created with our stakeholders and customers.

These outcomes and aims are highly ambitious and will see us transition from being a pacesetter in water to performing a far wider role in society, including as a leader in environmental stewardship.

But our vision is credible: we have a track record of customer service and environmental excellence; and we are committed to embedding these targets into all our business plans.

Strategic direction scorecard wheel with details on our areas of work and focus

Our Strategic Direction Statement

Our key priorities for the future

Our strategic direction sets out what we aim to deliver for customers, wider society and the environment. We set out our key priorities for the future, based on wide and continuous conversations with our customers and stakeholders.

Our outcomes

1. Safe and reliable water

Our customers will always receive drinking water that is wholesome, safe and 100% compliant with the standards, and we will keep our customers supplied with water whenever they need it. In the event of emergency or planned interruptions, we’ll ensure any time without water is set to a maximum of three hours.

2. An effective sewerage system

We will halve the impact of internal and external sewage flooding incidents, working on both the frequency of event and the impact they have. We know how devastating it is to experience sewage flooding.

3. Affordable bills

We want no customer to spend more than 5% of their disposable income on our services. We want to end water poverty and our customers to be able to afford their bills.

4. Great customer experience

We want to go beyond being an industry leader and aim to be ranked among the top 10 customer service providers in the UK.

5. Sustainable abstraction

We will comply 100% with abstraction licences and are acutely aware of the need for sustainable abstraction, as we continue to provide for the needs of our communities.

6. Great river and coastal water quality

We will restore the health of our river and coastal waters, ensuring there are zero pollutions and reducing the levels of harmful nutrients in the water.

7. Net zero carbon

We will drive down carbon emissions to net zero from our own operations by 2030 and from the embodied carbon associated with the materials, productions and services we use by 2040 at the latest.

8. Biodiversity improvement

We will commit to doubling the biodiversity improvements we make as we continue to adapt our Biodiversity Action Plan.

Portrait image of Executive Director of Wessex Water, Colin Skellett

Our PR24 business plan will be the first staging post in the delivery of these 2050 outcomes. We need to continue investing so we can meet the stretching long term targets we have co-created with our customers and stakeholders. In so doing, we will also play our part in delivering national policy ambitions, including on net zero and environmental enhancement as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Colin Skellett,

Chief Executive

Our enablers

Within Wessex, we will need to secure some changes to enable our transformation and deliver the outcomes set out in this plan.

We have identified six enablers that we need to ensure are embedded in our business over the long term, centred around strong financing and governance, and empowered people. These are shown in the bottom half of the wheel below and are as follows:

Empowering our people:

Culture, inclusion, and diversity: we will have an inclusive workforce that reflects the cultures and diversity of the region we serve

Individual safety, wellbeing, and engagement: our colleagues will be safe at work, proud to work for us and fully engaged in their roles

Skills, knowledge, and opportunity: our colleagues will have all the skills and knowledge they need to confidently carry out their roles.

Financing the future:

Market-led outcomes: we will harness the power of markets to drive the most efficient solutions

Resilient financial stewardship: we will demonstrate long-term financial stability

Strong governance, ethics and accountability: we will prove that we are honest and ethical in the way we conduct our business.

Climate change

The UK is faced with unprecedented environmental challenges and our day-to-day work is greatly influenced by the weather. The climate crisis will lead to drier summers, wetter winters and more frequent extreme weather events. This will have a direct bearing on the services we provide and that’s why we are building long-term resilience into every aspect of our water and wastewater operations and future plans. The scale and urgency of these challenges allied to rising customer and environmental expectations cannot be underestimated.

Close up shot of a butterfly on a purple flower in a field

Regulatory reform

We believe the focus needs to shift to the outcomes identified above, not output specific metrics, allowing water companies to identify the best combination of investment to deliver the standards required. This would allow greater use of alternative catchment, nature based and community solutions which can achieve substantially more for the environment and at lower cost.

These solutions need to become mainstream with a regulatory framework that enables and incentivises these solutions at the heart of delivery.

Geneco bio gas tanker with powered by poo slogan

Our people

Whether at work or among the communities in which they live, our people are key to the successful delivery of our outcomes for customers and the environment. Here too we are setting targets around demographics and skills and want Wessex Water to be one of the UK’s top 100 places to work.

In terms of our financial stewardship, we aim to have the highest ESG (environmental, social and governance) score in the industry, to demonstrate our long-term financial stability and to continue to set the efficiency benchmark for water and sewerage companies.

Control room operator employee sat at his desk with a headset smiling