Home
My Wrekin
View of the sea and the sky

Environmental initiative launched by leading housebuilder and civils specialist

The Sea Starts Here logo

 

To draw attention to the damage litter causes to the UK’s waterways, lakes, and oceans, leading housing provider Barratt Homes and specialist civils provider Wrekin Products has partnered on an initiative - ‘The Sea Starts Here®’ - to educate the public.

The campaign’s message will be featured prominently on Wrekin gully grates in Barratt’s Kings Park, a David Wilson Homes development in Macclesfield. It aims to raise awareness of how small pieces of litter can snowball into lasting environmental effects. To further grab attention, Kings Park gully grates have been painted a stark bright blue.

Keep Britain Tidy estimates that the UK discards a staggering 30 million tonnes of litter annually, incurring a cleanup cost of £1 billion. Shockingly, nearly half of this litter (14m) ends up contaminating our rivers and canals, as reported by the Canal & River Trust. This ongoing damage has led to a situation where none of our waterways are currently classified as being in ‘good health’.

As one of the most popular suppliers of gully grates in the UK, we’re using our position as an opportunity to create a positive environmental impact by reminding people that there is a correct place for litter to go, and it’s not down our drains.

Simon Turner

Commercial Director, Wrekin Products Ltd.

David Wilson Homes, Kings Park

Simon Turner, commercial director at Wrekin Products said: “We hope this campaign will go some way to increasing awareness about the interconnectedness of our infrastructure and the problems and effects of water pollution on our marine wildlife.

“As one of the most popular suppliers of gully grates in the UK, we’re using our position as an opportunity to create a positive environmental impact by reminding people that there is a correct place for litter to go, and it’s not down our drains.

“We’re lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes on the planet, and so it’s a shame to see it needlessly harmed by pollution and rubbish. More so when we see the ripple effects of excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen seeping into and harming our freshwater habitats, and in some cases being enough to kill the fish population.

“Kings Park is just the beginning of this campaign, and we’ll be looking to spread this important message even further throughout this year and beyond. The main culprit of river pollution in the UK is smoking-related litter. However, confectionary packets, drinks bottles and cans, fast food, wet wipes, and, more recently, disposable vapes all contribute to a harmful chemical cocktail.

The government’s Environmental Audit Committee (2022) found that housing developments’ drainage systems which are clogged with ‘a profusion of plastic and other non-biodegradable waste’, in addition to heavy rainfall, often leads to an overloaded sewerage system unable to cope effectively.

Alaric Ross-Wagenknecht, project engineer at Barratt and David Wilson Homes Anglia, said: “As leaders in the residential housebuilding sector, we wanted to work with Wrekin to educate children and adults in a fun and informative way about the importance of pollution control and the role of drainage infrastructure and the water cycle.

“To permanently imprint the message ‘The Sea Starts Here’ on a gully grating means the message will be here for years to come, throughout the gully’s whole life cycle. That will get people thinking twice about gullies and their role.”

To permanently imprint the message ‘The Sea Starts Here’ on a gully grating means the message will be here for years to come, throughout the gully’s whole life cycle. That will get people thinking twice about gullies and their role

Alaric Ross-Wagenknecht

Project Engineer, Barratt and David Wilson Homes Anglia

Plastic bottles floating in water

The problem with litter in our waterways

The problem with litter in our waterways

Roadside gullies and storm drains are designed to collect rainwater from roads and pavements.

Water flows down drains into underground pipes, sewer systems, and soakaways and can lead directly into an adjacent stream or river (referred to as a ‘watercourse’) or a roadside ditch. That means that any litter and waste discarded into them is swept along, too.

Plastic waste in a small puddle

Any litter, from cigarette butts to food packaging, can go down drains and enter the water system. It can cause blockages at the treatment works and end up in rivers or, eventually, the sea.

In addition to litter, Keep Britain Tidy’s Local Environmental Quality Survey of England in 2019/20 found that 20% of sites surveyed failed to meet the acceptable standard for detritus. That is mud and grime found on our roads which, when it builds up, can lead to blocked drains and localised flooding.