Welcome to our Blog. Inspiration, updates and industry trends from the team at Landscaping Solutions.
If you are a regular reader of the Landscaping Solutions Blog you may remember back in January of last year we did an article covering the preposterous plans to commence fracking in Sherwood Forests.
One of the world's largest chemical companies Ineos, were leading the charge at the time and had gone as far as to obtain all the relevant licences to begin searching for shale gas beneath the ancient woodland.
Fortunately, after a great deal of protesting and negative media attention these plans were subsequently dropped.
Sadly there’s no time to breath a sigh of relief just yet. With Ineos busy eyeing up their next target. Companies like Cuadrilla Resources are already busy at work.
Following years of protests, demonstrations and debate Cuadrilla Resources have sadly begun fracking for shale gas at their site in Little Plumpton, Lancashire on the 15 October.
This marks the first time fracking has been carried out in the UK since the process was linked to earthquakes, caused by Cuadrilla Resources, back in 2011.
It comes as no surprise then when you hear the news that the Little Plumpton site is already in trouble. At the time of writing this article the site had triggered 37 earthquakes in only three weeks.
Worryingly, two of those earthquakes were powerful enough to breach regulatory limits and be categorised as "red" events by the Oil and Gas Authority monitoring system, meaning work had to stop completely for a minimum of 18 hours. On a third occasion an earthquake came so close to a “red” event that Cuadrilla Resources themselves voluntarily ceased operations.
Some organisations are concerned that these repeated breaches of regulatory limits already suggest Cuadrilla are in way over their heads. Yet shockingly, only last week the chief executive of Cuadrilla urged the government to relax the shale gas exploration limits currently imposed on fracking. The energy minister, Claire Perry, thankfully rejected such requests.
The reality though is that the Government shouldn’t be giving projects like this the go ahead in the first place. We should be shifting away from fossil fuels, not looking at ways to make it easier for companies like Cuadrilla Resources and Ineos to dig up more.
Fracking is by no means a long term solution and at best can only serve to extend the supplies of current fuels for a limited time. In fact, it’s sustainability has already been called in to question by countless studies with the most recent study concluding that fracking is one of the least sustainable methods of producing energy.
Renewable energy solutions are truly the only way forward, offering a long term solution, to the long term problem of maintaining energy supplies but also reducing carbon emissions.
However, until the Government is prepared to listen to the environmental scientists and the growing concerns of the public, councillors and MPs, Theresa May’s recent promise of a healthier environment for the next generation, is unlikely to be one she can keep.
It’s that time of year again, with the nights drawing in, December fast approaching and the anticipation mounting it can mean only one thing...no not Christmas, the BALI National Landscape Awards 2018.
Recognised throughout the industry as one of the biggest landscaping events of the year the 42nd BALI National Landscape Awards will pay tribute to BALI members who have demonstrated exceptionally high standards of professionalism and skill within the landscaping and design sector.
As BALI members and winners of this years Domestic Garden Construction Between £100k - £250k category the Landscaping Solutions team will of course be in attendance.
This will be our fifth BALI award to date and, as always, it stands as a great testament to the hard work, craftsmanship and enthusiasm of all our staff. Two of those five award have been of ‘Principal’ status which is awarded to the best garden in its respective category. We are hoping that this year will be three out of five. Fingers crossed.
Situated in the London Borough of Barnet our award winning garden was designed by Jilayne Rickards Garden Design. Jilayne’s commitment and attention to details is of the highest order and we look forward to bringing more of her contemporary garden designs to life in coming years.
As part of the initial brief for this particular design the client had requested a usable family space with a unifying architectural theme and colour scheme. In addition they wanted year round interest in the planting, to hear the sound of running water and to have interesting textures, shapes and heights be incorporated in to the planting.
Modern hard landscaping features, privacy screens, overhead patio shades, a built-in barbecue and fireplace and a bespoke water feature are just some of the many features we installed to meet the clients needs.
In the early stages of the design process the client had also expressed the importance of ensuring the finished garden had a ‘unique’ and personal feel, requesting personalised elements be included in the scheme.
With this in mind a number of bespoke Cor-Ten features were commissioned and installed through the rear garden. A bespoke mounting method had to be devised to allow for their installation.
From these bespoke installations, through to restricted site access and unfavourable ground conditions it is fair to say the project was not without its challenges. Luckily we don’t shy away from challenges at Landscaping Solutions and so with good communication, meticulous planning and hard work we were able to transform the garden in to a clean and clear functional space that satisfied all of the clients requirements.
With the hard work done, We are certainly looking forward to celebrating with fellow BALI members at the awards ceremony in December and as always, it is an honour to have our achievements recognised by the industry's number one trade association and our peers.
The competition in each category is fierce so we would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the other category winners on a job well done.
If you follow us on social media you may have noticed some of our recent posts regarding the iconic Dolphin Square and its Grade II listed gardens.
Built between 1935 and 1937, Dolphin Square is located by the River Thames in London's Pimlico.
As one of the largest and most famous apartment blocks in London, Dolphin Square has had somewhat of a colourful past and has been home to princesses, politicians, spies and actors throughout its 80 year history.
A Conservation Area in its own right, the beautiful and tranquil landscaped gardens were originally designed by Richard Suddell and have just recently been listed Grade II by Historic England.
The site itself has changed hands various times over the years but was most recently acquired by US based property company Westbrook Partners in 2005. Unfortunately, Westbrook have recently put forward a planning application proposing a £400 million revamp of the entire site.
If approved, the plans would see the northern block of Dolphin Square completely demolished. A 10-storey building would then be erected in its place, with an additional floor being added to all the remaining blocks.
Two huge basement areas would then be excavated to allow for an underground swimming pool and sports facilities and the famous art-deco shopping parade would also be demolished as part of the proposed works.
If Westminster Council were to approve the planning work on the five year redevelopment could potentially start as soon as 2020.
The northern half of the listed gardens would be completely lost forever as a result of redevelopment and at the very least, the character and fabric of Dolphin Square would be destroyed.
Westbrook Partners claim to have invested approximately £40 million into the upkeep of Dolphin Square and have stated that the proposed works are a necessary solution to the ongoing repair costs.
The scope of work however is quite clearly an expansion and not a refurbishment and when you take in to account the fact that Westbrook has declined to divulge how many of the new homes would be set aside for affordable housing (a council requirement) it is clear the motive behind the revamp is based purely on profit.
For further information regarding Dolphin Square or to sign the on-line petition to save it please visit the Save Dolphin Square petition page at change.org
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Surrey Wildlife Trust announced recently that their Hedgerow Heritage project has been awarded £56,600 in development funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The initial funding will allow the Surrey Wildlife Trust to further develop their plans for the Hedgerow Heritage project and apply for a full National Lottery grant of nearly half a million pounds in July 2019.
The project itself aims to revive traditional hedge planting and laying skills in the local community. With a focus on young people, ranging from school children to youth groups, the project aims to involve thousands of local people in the restoration of hedgerows, all within the iconic landscape of the North Downs, part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
With two thirds of England being continuously hedged for over a thousand years, there is a rich tradition of hedgerow management techniques in Surrey and the project aims to pass on these skills from local hedge laying societies to community volunteers, landowners, farm managers and private sector contractors.
The project will see the planting, restoration and protection of more than 80 kilometres of hedgerows in Surrey and is part of a countywide strategy to reverse the fragmentation of the countryside and encourage stewardship of the landscape in the future.
Andrew Jamieson, project development manager at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re delighted to win this funding from the National Lottery players. It is an incredible opportunity to engage with local communities, to keep heritage hedgerow skills alive and pass on expertise from one generation to the next.”
There is no denying, this is a significant project and the importance of well maintained hedgerows should not be underestimated.
Hedgerows are not merely field boundaries, they play a vital role in our delicate ecosystem, providing habitat for flora and fauna and enabling species such as dormice, bats, insects and butterflies to travel safely across the landscape. In addition hedgerows prevent soil erosion and provide a natural barrier to reduce pesticides and fertilisers reaching our streams and rivers.
We certainly wish this project every success and as corporate sponsors of the Surrey Wildlife Trust we will be watching this development with enthusiasm.
If you would like more information regarding the Hedgerow Heritage project or any other Surrey Wildlife Trust project please visit the Surrey Wildlife Trust website for further information.