I believe that the hosepipe ban imposed by the seven water companies in the south east will have a serious impact on the hundreds of small businesses working in the landscape industry in the south east.
Whilst we all understand the seriousness of the drought, the blanket ban imposed by Thames Water and others means that from 5 April, hosepipes cannot be used to water newly installed planting, turf and seeded areas. If you have not yet fully considered the implications of this, I have outlined my concerns in my letter of appeal (see below) and I am asking for a discretionary period for new garden installations.
All the water companies have a consulting period where representations or appeals can be made. The deadline for representations for Thames Water is 21 March (in writing to: Public Consultations Team, 2nd East, Thames Water, Clearwater Court, Reading, RG1 8DB - or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org). Check your water company for their deadlines and addresses.
I urge LJN members in the south east affected by this (there must be hundreds) to write to their water companies (please feel free to adapt my letter for your own business case if it helps). If there are enough people appealing and asking for a discretionary period, maybe our voices will be heard.
As an open association LJN is a voice in the industry and actively supports small businesses - a letter from LJN on behalf of its members in the south east may carry more weight. Strength in numbers?
I'm REALLY concerned that whilst turf can be laid or sown & watered for 28 days when the installation is done commercially that there isn’t a similar exemption for new (commercial) plantings, yet window cleaners etc can wash cars & windows and so continue their business.
Funnily enough we (Plews) plant more plants than lawns – and have had two cancellations already on designs agreed as a result of the ban.
I too am so concerned about water restrictions. I am not sure where I will stand legally if I undertake new planting, and those plants die. I am not sure I am currently prepared to take any risks, and might well have to cancel all planting and turfing projects until the Autumn.
I am completely baffled!
It makes no sense financially - plants cost between £600- £30 per meter 2 and turf around £15 so less of an issue if turf dies.
Water wise, turf needs more surface watering which is prone to evaporation and therefore water waste. Plant and tree roots go down deeper and watering the plant roots means less water wasted through evaporation.
Has anyone any ideas why the water companies are making the distinction and only supporting businesses who are involved in turfing?
I totally agree. There really isn't any logic in the decision by water companies to allow the watering of turf using a hosepipe but not plants. I can imagine many scenarios where watering of turf is many times less efficient (and potentially more wasteful) than watering plants.
Ironically it is also much more efficient to water turf with a sprinkler than by hand with a hosepipe.
I think we need to follow up by presenting a second letter of representation directly and invidually to water companies to highlight how inconsistent their exemption policy is.
This is crazy and bitterly disappointing. I'm still holding out hope that SE Water where most of my customers are based will take a different stance but no doubt I'm living in cloud cuckoo land. I wrote (snail mail) to Lee Dance 2 weeks ago and haven't had a response. Are we sure this is the final decision?
It sounds like a long shot to me!
If you're going to reach for your lawyer, you might be better off going to the European Court and arguing that the ruling is a restraint of trade and a denial of your human right to earn a living.
Good luck with that!
I have read all the posts and empathize greatly at the degree of impact this may have. I hesitate therefore to join in with product promotion - however it seems to me some of you may be better off aware at least of the option of a Henchman 'Water Barrow ' than not. See the Henchman website product tab if you think this device might help you in some cases where distant plants need saving.
I learnt of the trick of filling a large plastic bottle with sedment heavy water and turning it upside down and pushing it into the base of a tree or plant. The neck clogs up allowing a drip feed to prevent complete drying out. Hesitant to mention this again as it may be a ridiculous idea for your sizes of challenge, but no harm to put it out there!
Good work with starting the petition Phil - and the second open letter. Sign up everyone - and for those of you who tweet, please get tweeting!
Phil Voice said:
its a good idea and useful, but unless its already in place and filled on site, its not exactly going to work for a new planting atm...
Re petition: signed and another letter sent off to Thames water company, MP etc
maybe I need to brush up on my cacti ident...
Helpful to link for you - Henchman Water Barrow.