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2020 / 2021 Edition

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River-Friendly Business ‘Gold’ status for EPC-UK


Commercial explosives firm secures highest environmental accreditation for river protection

COMMERCIAL explosives and drilling and blasting specialists EPC-UK have become one of the first companies to achieve River-Friendly Business ‘Gold’ status for their work to protect local watercourses close to their plant in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Run by charity Trent Rivers Trust (TRT) and backed by the Environment Agency and Severn Trent, the accreditation scheme awards businesses based within the Trent catchment Bronze, Silver and Gold status for helping to improve their local water environment.

This year some 10 companies that together employ more than 2,000 staff within former coalfield areas in parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have officially become River-Friendly Businesses.

Having secured Bronze and Silver last year, EPC-UK are among the first three businesses to be awarded Gold accreditation. Representatives from the firm accepted the accolade – and a River-Friendly Business plaque – at a ceremony held on 28 November at The Post Mill Centre in South Normanton, Derbyshire.

It was also attended by representatives of the Environment Agency, local councils, and by community groups and volunteers who have been taking part in TRT’s wider The River Starts Here initiative.

In order to become a River-Friendly Business, staff at EPC-UK in Alfreton, where the company manufactures commercial explosives, have worked hard to raise awareness among other local firms of the steps they can take to prevent water pollution and improve local brooks that lead into the rivers Amber, Derwent and Erewash.

Julie Wozniczka, senior project manager at TRT, said: ‘EPC-UK have a range of safety and pollution-prevention systems on site and that helped them secure Bronze and Silver last year.

‘Over the last 12 months they have been proactive in visiting local businesses and successfully recruited two local businesses to the scheme. Their staff have also participated enthusiastically in several Brook Action Days to improve the local environment.’

Chris Barlow, operations manager at EPC-UK, said: ‘The gold accreditation represents EPC-UK’s ever-increasing commitment to improving our site and the surrounding environment.’

To become a River-Friendly Business, participants follow six steps – from ensuring water drains that lead to brooks are clearly marked to storing oils and chemicals in bunds to contain spills.

Bronze award winners make staff aware of the campaign and identify steps they can take; Silver winners carry out actions; and Gold winners embed a river-friendly ethos in their business and support other organizations.

Chloe Palmer, chief executive of Trent Rivers Trust, said: ‘At Gold level, not only are pollution-prevention systems truly embedded, but businesses take the message out to other businesses and display signs promoting the scheme and celebrating their involvement in it.

‘Together with TRT, they have helped to build a culture which attracts and welcomes other businesses to look after their local watercourses. All three Gold winners have also promoted the scheme internationally through their own business communications.’

Zara Turtle, senior biodiversity co-ordinator at Severn Trent, said: ‘At Severn Trent, water quality is at the core of our business, so being able to partner Trent Rivers Trust in spreading these important messages of ‘only rain down the drain’ and how to look after your local water course is really beneficial to us – helping to reduce treatment costs and, therefore, keep customer’s bills down.

‘We are really pleased to see the River-Friendly Business awards grow from its successful launch last year. It’s obviously capturing the heart and imagination of the businesses involved, and inspiring to see them start to support each other to improve the environment they work in.’

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