Landscape industry delight at hosepipe ban exemption

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The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) today welcome the news from the water companies that landscaping and turf businesses are exempt from the hosepipe ban as of today.

The adjustment to the Temporary Use Ban by the seven water companies in the south and east of England allows gardening businesses and their customers to use hosepipes to water newly laid turf and plants, for up to 28 days from planting.

This decision comes as it was confirmed that the record rainfall experienced in April and continuing rain in May has reduced the severity of the ongoing water shortage in the South and East of England although groundwater levels still remain exceptionally low and the hosepipe bans remain in place.

Tim Briercliffe, Director of Business Development for the HTA and APL, said: "We are delighted that water companies have reviewed the restrictions on the landscape trade in light of the recent rainfall. Our members were facing serious business challenges as a result of the restrictions and this was likely to get worse with lost contracts and job losses. Much of this can now be averted thanks to this decision which was made as a result of the business case we made with other landscape trade bodies. Our members fully support the need for water efficiency and will do all they can to carry out water efficient practices, such as the use of drip watering systems, and to promote these to their customers."

APL Chairman Mark Gregory adds, "Despite the rain the restrictions have had a real impact on businesses and this was only going to get worse through the summer, and so it is a huge relief that the water companies have taken our very real concerns onboard, and in the light of the weather, lifted the restrictions for landscapers."

A recent HTA Member Voice Survey of member businesses providing garden design or landscaping services revealed that 25% had experienced customers cancelling work, 55% with customers postponing jobs and 75% saying that prospects and leads were putting off getting landscape jobs done as a result of the drought orders.

Richard Aylard, sustainability director for Thames Water, one of the water companies making the adjustment to the Temporary Use Ban, comments, "We are relieved to be in a position to take this step to allow gardening businesses to carry on designing, landscaping, maintaining and building new features and gardens, while safeguarding their livelihoods and those of their employees."

The HTA and the APL, along with the Turfgrass Growers Association, British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), Landscape Institute, Institute of Groundsmanship, Royal Horticultural Society and the Society of Garden Designers have agreed codes of practice with the water companies to ensure that the minimum amount of water is used and as wisely as possible. This includes a code for landscapers and codes on turf and planting for landscapers to pass onto their customers. Landscapers will be required to provide their customers will a letter confirming the date of planting as part of the exemption conditions.

These organisations will be meeting water companies again on 29 May to agree longer term plans on managing the impact of hosepipe bans in the future.

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