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Category: Blog

Benefits of Having a Green Roof

Green rooftops are an answer to the problems of conventional urban roofs. They utilise all available space by transforming an unattractive grey roof into a blossoming garden for vegetation and animal life. Though most popular with large city-centre structures, a green rooftop also offers a myriad of benefits to homes and smaller businesses. This article will explain more about green roofs and the many benefits they offer.

 

What is a green roof?

A green roof is a rooftop onto which vegetation is grown or wildlife habitats are established. Green roofs come in many forms,

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How to Save the Bees

The bee population is dwindling. In the past decade, the UK’s bee population has dropped by a third. Should the trend continue, this poses a significant threat to all of us. Bees play a fundamental role in our ecology, pollinating our wild plants — which, in turn, provides feed for livestock — as well as our crops. So what can be done to curb the falling bee numbers across the country and further afield?

The main causes of the bee crisis

There are a number of issues affecting the bee population in different ways. Some of these are interlinked,

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Pocket Parks: Adding Greenery to Urban Environments

While city centres are filled with places to eat, drink, party and be entertained, there’s usually one thing missing: nature. Greenery is few and far between in our intricate concrete jungles, but that doesn’t have to be the case. But what’s the best way to integrate that much-needed slice of nature into the hustle and bustle of city life? One effective solution is pocket parks.

With a recent government funding boost for pocket parks across the country, we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk more about them, so read on to learn all you need to know about pocket parks and how they can benefit our cities.

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Three Peakers Ride Again

Six years ago I took part in the UK 3 Peaks 24 hour challenge to raise funds for Greenfingers. We were a group of landscape professionals coming together for a very good cause. Three years later I re-joined the group, this time we decided to go back and climb the 3 highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales but cycle from the foot of each mountain to the foot of the next in just 5 days. It was a massive challenge for some of us! But the bonus was raising over £26,000 for our industry charity.

This September on Sunday 18th,

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Apprenticeship Levy Are we ready?

There has been lots written in the press about the new apprenticeship levy, that is being introduced in April 2017. I believe it will change how we view and run apprenticeships beyond recognition. There will certainly be an increase of cash in the system. In the Horticultural Industry our new trailblazer standard has been approved and is now ready to be used as the framework for training operatives and supervisors. The whole principle of the trailblazers are to have good quality apprenticeship programmes that are employer led. If the reforms work as expected the whole process should be very straightforward from start to finish and this should have an impact on the skills gap.

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Young Enterprise Company Programme

I had a really enjoyable couple of days with teams from the Hertfordshire Young Enterprise this weekend. I had been asked to join the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield District Council (WHDC) Cllr Lynne Sparks and Rachel Walsh also of WHDC to judge a mini competition linked to the youth company programme. Sixteen enterprising school student companies had been invited to come and set up trade stands to test their entrepreneurial and business skills.

The teams have been learning how to run real a real company that they have set up themselves, with help and advice from local business volunteers.

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Neil Cain Operations Director wins National Apprenticeship Award

Huge congratulations to Neil Cain, our Operations Director who was last night named the City & Guilds Apprentice Champion of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards at an exclusive ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House. This was one of the most coveted awards and Neil fought off competition from hundreds of other apprentices around England to be awarded the top prize.

The Awards, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Neil was chosen as the winner in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to apprenticeships since starting as one in 1980 in the Sunderland Parks Department.

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The Power of Partnerships

While our contracts are largely self-sufficient, it often makes sense for us to share certain equipment between depots, a small example for us being the remote control lawnmower which we use when areas of grass are too steep for us to mow with conventional ones. We run a simple diary and contract managers able able to book this machine up in advance.

This thought led me to contemplate the benefit of partnerships, not just within companies, but between them as well. All business owners can get into the mindset of thinking of themselves as completely self-sufficient, but the more I see of what can be gained through partnership,

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Driver Style add to our Quartix vehicle Tracking System

As a company we have been extremely pleased with the features available on our Quartix vehicle tracking system. The most recent addition is driver style information and we are now starting to make real use of it. I am convinced it will improve our driver’s safety and make our fleet more efficient.

The Quartix driving tracking technology that we use in our vehicles is delivering so many benefits to our company, to our customers and to the environment as a whole. The new management tool to improve drivers’ style is now giving us a great deal of control over efficiency,

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Visit to House of Commons

As part of National Apprentice week I was delighted to attend the ‘Made by Apprentices’ event held at the House of Commons today (10/3/2015), I was joined by Jack Peters one of our Horticultural Apprentices. The event was for SME’s to showcase what apprentices can achieve and how they can help businesses flourish. Both Andrew Jones MP & Apprenticeship Ambassador in Parliament and Skills Minster Nick Boles both took time to speak to Jack and learn more about his story with John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance. During the afternoon event both myself and Jack were able to speak to business yet to get on board with apprenticeships and hopefully we have convinced them of the many benefits;

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