THE LANDSCAPING SOLUTIONS BLOG


Welcome to our Blog. Inspiration, updates and industry trends from the team at Landscaping Solutions.

A FRACKING DISASTER

Fracking Little Plumpton Lancashire

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.

BALI NATIONAL LANDSCAPE AWARDS 2018

BALI Landscaping Award 2018

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.

GARDENING GETS A YOUTH TAKEOVER

Gardening Gets A Youth Takeover

Traditionally, most people see gardening as dominated by the older generation. The digital age however, has seen a new younger generation of gardeners emerge. These gardeners are learning from an entirely untraditional source; the internet and social media.

Social media and the internet are key players when it comes to kick starting trends, with sites like Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter and YouTube offering us inspiration at our finger tips. As a result, a huge network of young horticulturists are using these social media platforms to share the latest gardening tips and tricks or simply to find inspiration.

According to a survey commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society, 89 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds said they had either a garden or an allotment and grew their own plants and vegetables.

Growing your own food and watching what you eat is a popular trend at the moment, most notably amongst young professionals. Organic food is on the rise and people are more aware than ever that growing your own fruit and vegetables can dramatically reduce our food’s carbon footprint.

In short, attitudes are changing rapidly with many under 35’s now heavily engaged in a range of gardening activities. The last few years have also seen a sharp increase in the number of 16 to 18 year olds wanting to enroll on horticultural courses at college.

The stereotype that gardening can only be enjoyed by the older generation is quickly disappearing and one such person helping to dispel that stereotype is 19 year old YouTuber Huw Richards.

Huw’s YouTube channel HuwsNursery currently has over 20 million views with upwards of 80 thousand subscribers, making it the most successful gardening vlog in the UK.

As a result of his YouTube successes Huw has also appeared on numerous TV gardening programmes and secured a number of sponsorship deals with prominent landscape and gardening related companies.

Another young British YouTuber, 22 year old Jack Shilley features similar content on his Youtube channel. One of his most successful videos entitled “planting raspberries in containers” has racked up more than 95,000 views.

When you look at statistics like this it’s clear the younger generation are getting into gardening in a big way and thankfully there are a growing number of initiatives designed to encourage and nurture this surge of interest.

BALI are a prime example of this, their hugely successful GoLandscape initiative (of which Landscaping Solutions company director Ben West is an ambassador) aims to bring more young people in to the landscaping industry by promoting and developing real life careers.

In addition The Royal Horticultural Society also run several groups and award schemes all aimed at the younger generation.

Increasingly a number of schools and colleges across the UK are also creating gardening spaces and clubs within their grounds, in an effort to embrace the enthusiasm of this new generation of gardeners.

THE SURREY WILDLIFE TRUST

Surrey Wildlife Trust

We’ve covered a number of environmental issues on the Landscaping Solutions blog over recent months. As a subject matter close to our hearts we try to offer practical support wherever possible.

For instance, we have been corporate sponsors of the Surrey Wildlife Trust for several years now and have just renewed our support for 2018.

Formed in 1959 the trust manages 82 sites in total, covering almost 8000ha. They are the only organisation in Surrey that cares for all forms of wildlife and they are doing some incredible work.

On a daily basis the trust works closely with schools, communities and volunteers across Surrey, informing and involving people actively in nature. Over 15,000 children and young people now benefit annually from a wide variety of outdoor learning courses and activities thanks to the work Surrey Wildlife Trust carries out.

Surrey is host to some wonderful habitats and the Wildlife Trusts works closely with partners and landowners to advise on land management for conservation, with particular emphasis on woodland, wetlands and heathland. In addition, the trust also regularly runs campaigns in an effort to save precious habitats and vulnerable species.

Unfortunately in the current political climate of government cuts and lack of funding, many of the habitats and species in question are coming under constant pressure from a variety of threats.

This lack of funding can make the difference between a species thriving or becoming locally extinct (one recent example would be the Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly which is now extinct in Surrey due to woods becoming overgrown) and for that reason it is more crucial then ever that we support these bodies in the work they do.

Landscaping Solutions company director Ben West has been a member of the Wildlife Trusts since he was a young boy. Initially a member of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Ben quickly became a member of the Surrey Wildlife Trust when he moved to the area around 15 years ago.

“Through the years I started to develop a growing awareness of the threats to our native wildlife and landscapes through habitat destruction, pollution and poor land management. I understood the crucial part the wildlife trusts play and started to volunteer with them and other bodies to help manage their reserves”.

A great deal of the work carried out by the Wildlife Trusts and trusts like them is volunteer led and it’s this ongoing support that allows them to continue their vital work.

Along with the Wildlife Trusts Landscaping Solutions also support the RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, Wessex Chalk Streams and Rivers Trust, Bumblebee Conservation and the Denmark Farm Conservation Centre.

Whether its corporate sponsorship, personal membership or looking after the wildlife on your patch, by supporting conservation bodies, together we can make a difference!

Further information regarding the Surrey Wildlife Trust and their work can be found at surreywildlifetrust.org

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