The latest version of the remote controlled slope mower, the Ransomes Spider II, has been delivered to West Norfolk Council by Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd, the Ipswich based turf equipment manufacturer. Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
The new and larger machine has a cutting width of 1.23 metres and is powered by a Kawasaki 680cc, 23hp petrol engine which drives four overlapping mulching blades. With a 16 litre fuel tank it can work for five hours on slopes up to 40° and an impressive 55° with winch assistance.
It will be used borough-wide by the four new neighbourhood cleaning teams which have recently been introduced in King's Lynn to help keep the town clean and greener. Existing street cleaning and grounds maintenance teams from West Norfolk Council will be joined by four new staff members to tackle problems across the town. The scheme began on 19th March and is being funded through the Safer Stronger Communities Fund, which has invested £272,000 in the project.
Chris Durham, Operations Manager at the Council's Leisure and Public Spaces department said, "With the introduction of these new teams we will be raising the standards of general tidiness and grounds care around Kings Lynn.
This new machine is remotely controlled and is a significant step forward for our workforce in terms of health and safety. They are not in contact with the mower and, as such, will not suffer from hand/arm vibration. Using mowers on steep slopes is uncomfortable for the operator, who has to stand at awkward angles putting pressure on hip, knee and back joints. We'll be using it on earth bunds, riverbanks and in neglected woodland areas as well as on the cliffs at Heacham and Hunstanton.
The council's Neighbourhood Manager Vicky Etheridge added, "By building on the existing technical expertise we have been able to develop multi-skilled teams to tackle both street cleaning and grounds maintenance issues.
They can build up local knowledge and act as a local contact for residents wishing to raise any concerns they may have about street scene matters. This new mower will be available to each team in their dedicated area and it is a testament to our commitment to provide an enhanced living and working environment for the residents and visitors to west Norfolk. "