Landscape Juice takes the initiative
Here at Landscape Juice we are passionate about helping all professional landscapers, gardeners and garden designers achieve their business objectives. We are also best placed to connect the trade practitioner with the consumer via our strong media platform.
On the 19 March 2012 we took an industry lead by writing to the seven water companies that are proposing a hosepipe ban on the 5 April 2012, urging them to consider exempting professional users for a period where new lawns are laid or trees and shrubs are planted.
We have now had their responses and we are pleased to say that we have been able to persuade some water companies to create exemptions in the respect of hosepipes for the manual watering of lawns for a period of 28 days after laying.
We do not feel the respective responses are consistent or go far enough. We also consider that the drip irrigation concession to be totally unworkable.
We have today 28 March 2012 again written, via an open letter, to the respective water companies (the letter is printed at the bottom of this page) urging them to allow professionals to use a sprinkler or hosepipe in a responsible manner for 28 days so as to ensure the survival and protection their respective investments.
Our third level of approach is via a petition to the water companies to put additional pressure on them to act in reasonable and responsible manner.
Please add your name, company name and email address below. There is also an additional box for consumers and/or client to add their weight to our campaign on your behalf.
Please get involved. Even if you are not currently affected by this issue there is the potential for industry-wide damage as projects are cancelled or postponed and a knock-on affect takes hold.
Open letter to:
- Anglian Water
- Southern Water
- South East Water
- Sutton and East Surrey
- Thames Water
- Veolia Central
- Veolia South East
Thank you for your replies regarding the proposed water restrictions due to take effect on the 5 April 2012. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to communicate directly with you and we hope we can find a satisfactory way forward that will be fair to all involved.
We have noted that in some instances, drip irrigation is allowed and watering of new turf using a hosepipe is permitted for a period of 28 days after laying. We do note however that the decisions by the seven water supplies companies (as listed below) is not consistent and is causing concern amongst the general public and the landscape and horticulture industry.
We also believe (for reasons listed above) that by allowing gardeners to use a hosepipe and sprinklers carefully and responsibly, that the benefits for the UK environment and economy far outweigh any negatives and we therefore ask you to reconsider your respective positions.
As landscapers, gardeners and garden designers we are all acutely aware of how fragile our environment and ecosystems is. We are as a profession passionate about our work in enhancing and protecting the environment: but also as a profession, we are faced with two equally important challenges at this time.
It is essential we maintain our businesses in what is proving to be extremely difficult times. Not only do we as an industry have to endure long periods of poor weather - both ends of the long hard winter of 2010 being a very good case in point - but we face strong economic pressures too. The spring and autumn are two crucially important periods for our industry: already members are reporting that projects have either been cancelled or put on hold and although it's still early to judge, indications are that new business is not being taken on because consumers and trade clients are not daring to plan projects because nobody knows if it is possible to protect their investment due to the impending hosepipe bans.
Whilst none of us would argue that it's vitally important we take care of and protect our water supplies and infrastructure, such a wide scale ban as is proposed so early in the gardening calendar has the potential to devastate and decimate our industry and cause wide damage.
The second but equally important challenge is to our environment, to which we all have a responsibility. A hosepipe ban will not only be disaster for business it will also be a disaster for our environment and the many sensitive ecologies around the UK.
For example, studies have suggested that the common bumblebee is now more prevalent in residential gardens than it is in the wild. If the countryside dries up, as it has already so early in the year, then the garden becomes the bumblebee's most important haven; this applies however, not just for the common bumblebee but for the all of the beneficial animals and insects that are crucial to the balance of so many fragile ecosystems and our food chain.
If our members are not able to maintain British gardens then the damage done will potentially be much greater than just scorched lawns and dead plants. We believe we all share a responsibility to enhance, encourage and maintain and that, vitally, includes all of the water utilities.
We cannot understand why some businesses, such as car washes for example, have enjoyed wide scale protection from hosepipe restrictions yet gardeners are being penalised. A car that remains un-washed for six weeks will survive but a new lawn laid now, will not. A clean car will not make the slightest difference to our environment or economy yet thriving gardens will protect and maintain fragile ecosystems and continue to provide work for those employed to maintain them.
A few important points to consider:
A lawn watered in the cool of the day - or via a timer at night - using a sprinkler is more efficient and use less water than if it is watered erratically by hand via a hose during the day.
A hose used to trickle water to the base of a tree, shrub or plant after planting ensures that the water is directed to where it is needed. Crucially a hosepipe allows an operator to be efficient in water delivery. As an example, where it might take 600 minutes ( that's over one working day) for one person to walk 100 yards to water 100 trees 6 minutes for each tree round trip) it may take just 200 minutes by rolling out a hosepipe. Essentially, the trees would receive no more or no less water than they would if the operative used a bucket or watering can.
If trees and shrubs cannot be watered and they subsequently die, there is a potential risk for the soils in which they are planted to become unstable leading to flooding, soils washing away and of course loss of valuable habitat.
We urge you to work with us to help educate the consumer and trade practitioner on the best ways to use and conserve water whilst considering that it is essential to widen your individual and collective exemptions to include:
Use of sprinkler for the watering of newly laid turf for a period of 28 days after laying
Use of hosepipe to water newly planted trees, shrubs and plants
Landscape Juice is willing to work individually and collectively with all water companies to help educate domestic and commercial gardeners on the best ways to use and conserve water. With circa 100,000 visitors across our sites we are the strongest site in the UK to help spread the message and maintain an effective news flow.
We look forward to hearing from you further.
A copy of this letter has been published here: http://www.landscapejuice.com/petition-to-exempt-professional-gardeners-and-landscapers-from-the-hosepipe-ban.html
On behalf of 2,528 trade members of the Landscape Juice Network.
Landscape Juice is the single largest association of industry practitioners in the UK landscape and horticulture industry