Following the record rainfall over the last month, representatives from the landscape and turf industry are calling for water companies to review their Temporary Use Bans and provide concessions for their members to use hosepipes as an essential part of their business.
In a meeting on the 3rd May at the headquarters of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and Association of Professional Landscapers, there was consensus that the time is right for water companies to revisit an exemption for the sector. The meeting was attended by representatives from the British Association of Landscape Industries, Landscape Institute, Turfgrass Growers Association, Institute of Groundsmanship, Royal Horticultural Society and Society of Garden Designers.
Currently seven water companies across the south and east of England have temporary water restrictions in place with no exemptions for domestic landscaping or laying turf. In spite of the wettest April on record, the introduction of the bans has had a damaging impact on business, with the turf industry particularly affected and already reporting between 25 to 40% loss in actual sales, and forecasts of up to 60%. Landscape contractors have reported up to 20% losses, but fear this could rise to 50% if the restrictions continue over the next few months.
On behalf of the group, Tim Briercliffe commented, "We realise that an exceptionally wet April does not completely offset a drought caused by two very dry winters. Nevertheless, we believe the recent rains should provide sufficient headroom for the water companies concerned to allow for professional landscape and turf companies to use a hosepipe. This would bring our industry into line with other business users of hosepipes, and represent a proportionate and flexible response from the water companies."
The landscape and turf organisations are scheduled to meet with the water industry again on 29th May. Briercliffe adds, "As well as documenting the economic impact on the industry of the hosepipe ban, we will use that meeting to provide evidence of the industry's existing responsible approach to water management and to put forward some ideas on how our industry can actually embed longer term behavioural change amongst our customers".