Landscape News Spring 2024

Page 1

Spring 2024

Landscape News

The official journal of the British Association of Landscape Industries


Learn more about the 2023 Grand Award winning project

22 BALI-NCF discuss the growth of landscaping equipment theft


Technical: carbon reduction and offsetting


Interview: supporting equity with Walworth Garden

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National Chair’s Welcome


The members of our studio study copies of gardening and interior magazines for the latest trends; to be inspired by the ever-diverse industry of horticulture and to build excitement before the imminent RHS shows.

At the time of writing, I note that February publications seem peppered with stock photos of snowdrops, but they sometimes sit alongside adverts for out-of-season roses for Valentine’s Day. As Gardens Illustrated highlighted in their last issue, the Spring Summer Autumn Winter collective (SSAW) has tried to turn this culturally embedded tradition of giving red roses for Valentine’s Day on its head and look to less energy intensive flowers to gift. Still quoting GI, “an estimated eight million roses (570 tonnes) are imported to the UK for Valentine’s Day”. Although 14 February will have been and gone by the time you read this, giving more seasonal flowers is something to think about for next year. Better still, plan a trip with your loved one to your nearest garden with Galanthus collections on the said date - much more romantic!

Our Board of Directors at Landscape House is made up of a group of dedicated business owners and managers, who all bring something invaluable to the table. We all have the members’ interests at heart and can offer advice on areas of expertise that it is not always possible to have in-house with a small team. I can’t keep up with one such Board Member, Jake Catling of The Landscaping Consultants Landscapes. Jake’s octopus approach to his many landscaping interests can leave one spinning, but I am always grateful for his energy and insight, and if you haven’t

listened to his new podcast, please do - The Landscape Performance Podcast hosted on @hyphae.learning. It is a genuinely inspiring and supportive resource for the landscape community and one that can give your team insight to latest industry developments, as well as to just share ideas more widely.

In the news I’ve seen the CEO of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the DG of the National Trust alongside other NGO leaders (World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Green Alliance, and Wildlife and Countryside Link) met with Government leaders to highlight how we are one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. They asked for step change and highlighted the UK’s legally binding duties in the Environment Act to deliver nature recovery. The landscaping industry is poised to help with this, and we can all encourage our teams to take more interest in the results of the excellent work they can deliver. I know that BALI’s Technical Officer, Owen Baker, will ensure we hear more in future editions of Landscape News.

At the beginning of the year, Vice-Chair Adrian and I were invited to join Wayne Grills and the Landscape House team for lunch to say Au Revoir to Diane McCulloch after 22 years of service (fingers crossed for her return to some special project work in the future – we need more Di’s in the world).

What was evident at the lunch was not only how loved the witty, irreverent and incredibly conscientious Di is, but also how passionate the team are, and how talented! Di showed us her beautiful pencil drawings and her patterncutting skills alongside Kerry, who makes the most beautiful children’s clothing in her spare time. Both were humble but incredibly proud

of the work they produce and this, to me, epitomises the way the Landscape House team presents itself and approaches their responsibilities to the membership.

I know this will continue throughout the coming year and look forward to meeting more of you at the many events the Association holds, one of the many benefits of your membership that is so worthwhile. Get involved if you can!

Best wishes

LANDSCAPE NEWS SPRING 2024 3 CHAIR’S WELCOME New members (23 November 2023 – 22 February 2024) Accredited Contractor Midlands
Taylormade Landscape Contractors North Thames
Hortlands Scotland
M Squared (Scotland) South Thames
Formosa Landscapes
Gadsden Gardens
Gartenart (Design) T/A Gartenart Swimming Ponds
McCormack Noble T/A McCormack Noble Landscapes South West
West Hill Garden and Landscaping Services Accredited Supplier South West • Bury Hill Landscape Supplies South Thames • Apsley Farm Sales Yorkshire & North East Low Carbon Products T/A British Recycled Plastic Associate Contractor Midlands • Ingenuity Gardens South West • County Lawns and Trees International • Green Concept Landscape & Irrigation Services BALI & ROLO Training Provider South West • KH Training Revoked • Inturf • Pennine Partnership • Sapphire Externals

Editor’s Welcome

As we welcome another year, albeit a rather stormy, wet and cold year so far, it is always a great time to reflect and refocus.

Our first webinar of the year –'Seven go-to strategies for business success' – was a positive boost to this process. Hosted by Jon Asquith from ActionCOACH and Lee Bestall, Past-Chair of the Yorkshire and North East committee, the ‘power-hour’ highlighted the simple steps we can all integrate into our way of working to focus on achieving our objectives – whether personal or professional. If you missed the webinar, it is available to watch on-demand in your members area of the BALI website. I highly recommend taking the time to watch it!

In this edition, I caught up with Ed Verity and Matt Ainscough from Willerby Landscapes to get a greater understanding of the Grand Award-winning project Battersea Power Station Phase 2. Read more on page 10.

The team at Landscape House are excited that the National Landscape Awards 2024 are now open for entries. We are blown away every year by the quality, creativity and commitment of our

members, which seems to grow year on year. Do you have a project you believe could be the next Grand Award winner? Or does your company strive to be an excellent employer? The range of categories available ensures all our Accredited members are able to enter the Awards. For more information on entering, please see page 13.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting Accredited Contractor Walworth Garden, meeting with CEO and Head Gardener Oli Haden to continue the discussion of equality, diversity and inclusion within our industry. Joined by Future Gardeners charity, we discussed equality versus equity, challenging ‘normal’, and identifying and providing the right level of support to individuals. Read more on page 36.

Technical Officer Owen Baker has been researching carbon reduction and offsetting, identifying the benefits and challenges, and asking what carbon neutrality means for the landscaping industry. Read the full article on page 28.

Best Wishes

Editor: Katharine Hughes


T: +44(0)24 7669 8656

M: 07800 573351

Sales: Joanna Pieprzak


T: +44(0)24 7518 5614

Registered address: British Association of Landscape Industries Landscape House Stoneleigh Park Warwickshire CV8 2LG

Designed by:

Print and mailing:

Copy Deadline (Summer 2024): 1 May 2024

Front cover:

Image: Marianne Majerus. We Love Plants – Windmill Bank – Principal Award winner: Domestic Garden Construction Soft Landscaping 2023; Special Award winner: Best Design & Build 2023

Contents 6 Chief Executive’s Report 8 Association News 16 Member News 22 BALI National Contractors Forum 26 Feature: irrigation 28 Technical 36 Interview 42 Member Benefit Spotlight 44 Education 6 42 36 44 22 28 26 8 16

Green Spine, LondonUrban Regeneration That’s Inclusive and Affordable

Client/Specifier/Contractor: Westminster Council / WSP / FM Conway

Project Summary:

Sitting just a stones through from Edgware Road station, Green Spine is a big step forward in supporting local residents through regreening and regeneration.’ It has created 171 new modern homes, a new park, community spaces, and a green corridor for people to enjoy.


• To provide accessible, affordable housing and enhance community amenities.

• To cultivate a green, pedestrian-friendly space that supports both active lifestyles and natural biodiversity.


• The APRIL range of benches, seats and tables were used widely throughout the project as an effective, inclusive and affordable solution. Helping support the needs of residents and add a subtle contemporary furniture style to the scheme.

• A new leisure centre and landscaped route promotes health and well-being.


The Green Spine serves as a blueprint for modern urban living, balancing the need for housing with the desire for green space. It not only provides essential amenities but also demonstrates a commitment to create environments that prioritize people and the planet.

Celebrating Excellence

After a fantastic event celebrating excellence at the National Landscape Awards in December 2023, we have already launched the BALI Awards 2024. Make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to enter your schemes and help us celebrate excellence in the industry at the largest and most revered Landscape Awards ceremony in Europe.

Please see page 13 for more on the 2024 National Landscape Awards.

How is the construction industry changing in 2024?

Things look positive

The UK construction industry is on the cusp of a significant resurgence in 2024, with an expected growth of 12% compared to the previous year. This promising forecast is largely attributed to an anticipated upturn in the UK economy, which will likely foster increased consumer and business confidence. Consequently, improved household spending and renewed faith in market stability are set to stimulate activity across various sectors within the industry.

A rebound in construction output

After a drop in output during 2023, one of the construction trends for 2024 is expected to be a resurgence of 1.1%. While this is modest and not on a level with the levels from 2022, it is nevertheless a sign of positive change for the coming year.

Major education investment

The highest rate of growth this year is likely to fall in the education sector. This is largely due to the Department of Education’s plan to rebuild hundreds of schools over the next decade. This is set to include refurbishment works to over 800 academies, colleges, voluntary aid schools and more.

This injection of funding will yield positive results not only for education trusts up and down the country but also for the landscape industry as it continues to grow throughout the coming year.

The Association continues to push the GoLandscape careers initiative with the Landscape Skills and Careers Manager and Officer now in place. The initiative is

continuing its objective of pushing to gain traction in careers advice and bringing and training new people as well as upskilling the existing workforce. We have been reconnecting with the Ambassador network and reconfirming those that wish to continue to support the initiative by attending careers fairs, schools and colleges to demonstrate what a great industry we have to work within. If being an Ambassador is of interest to you and you would be happy to help and support GoLandscape careers, then please e-mail

I would like to thank those of you that have confirmed your ongoing commitment, and for the support that you have shown by being out there to spread the word.

Regional AGM’s

At the time of writing, we are in the middle of holding our member Regional AGMs, and we have had some great events running alongside the meetings with great speakers at amazing venues. In addition, this year we have Sharon Kennett running part of the event. Sharon is working on our behalf and


has supported the Board in developing the new strategy and has been tasked with understanding and developing the membership journey. We have been canvassing your opinions on your membership to help with this process, as well as updating you on what we have been doing to date along these lines.

Francesca Bienek, Regional Support Officer continues to work hard with the regional committee members and their respective Chairs and Vice-Chairs to support the development of a programme of events and activities for the year.

Check out the AGMs and other events on the Association website at:

I look forward to seeing you at these events. Don’t miss out on being able to meet with your peers and have your say on your membership and its benefits, or simply come along to find out more if you’re not maximising your membership and the great opportunities to promote your business, celebrate its excellence and be an industry leader.

Membership renewal (online)

It is once again that time of year when we ask our members to renew their annual membership. By the time this edition of Landscape News hits, the deadline to complete your renewal will be looming31 March 2024. It has been a solid start

for renewals, and it seems that the online renewal process has been received well, with many of you taking the opportunity to complete the whole exercise online, which is a much improved and streamlined process.

Thank you to those who have renewed, your membership will resume uninterrupted. For those members that have not yet responded to date, we look forward to receiving your renewal in the next couple of weeks and I look forward to continuing working with you, as well as on your behalf.

If you are not clear about what you are eligible for as part of your membership and its benefits, please feel free to pick up the phone and speak to one of the membership team at Landscape House, who will be happy to guide you through all the great opportunities that are available to you as a member.

We have had members confirm that they have been able to add as much as £24,000 back on their bottom line by utilising just one of their benefits, Now that has to be worth checking out, doesn’t it?

Thank you for your continued support for the Association.

New strategy

As part of our continuing work on the strategy moving forward, we have been working on reviewing the membership journey as well as embedding the values

throughout the organisation with the internal team at Landscape House, the BALI Board and with focus groups of members.

The work on the membership journey continues and has been using focus groups to gain feedback from members including your Regional Chairs and other groups such as the BALI National Contractors Forum.

The next stage, which will be nearly completed by the time you read this, is to run sessions at each of the regional AGMs. This, coupled with the feedback from the membership survey, will enable us to really focus on what is important to you, our member, and look at how we can support your endeavours and lead the industry.

Kind regards and once again, thank you for your continued support.

Chair Lee Bestall MBALI opening the Yorkshire & North East Regional AGM

2023 Membership survey: reviewing your feedback

Towards the end of last year, the Association carried out its annual membership survey, with a new format of questioning designed to help us understand your perceptions of the Association and its value to your business

We are currently reviewing the membership experience and benefits as part of our strategy, to make sure that the future package meets the varied business needs of our different types of members. Follow-

up discussions have been taking place at the Regional AGMs to support the survey feedback, which will directly influence the decisions made by the Association and the benefits you receive from being a member.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey. We received 112 responses, which represents 11% of the membership. The overall feedback was positive, with some clear direction on improvements that can be made which can be seen below.

The Association is committed to providing members with a package that meets your business needs, whilst also moving the industry forward through lobbying, raising standards and providing technical guidance. Your input will continue to influence our plans as we shape the future of the Association. Further updates on the decisions being made and the impact this will have on you as a member will be provided throughout the year.


Top three areas the Association DOES WELL

•Information, updates and communications

•Representing and championing the industry

• Events, networking and collaboration What

•More regional events

•More or improved training

•Better public awareness

Top three BENEFITS of membership…

• Credibility, recognition and customer confidence

•Collaboration, networking and community

•Awards, recognition and associated publicity

of members are likely, or highly likely to recommend the Association to an industry colleague
of members say the Association is very, or extremely valuable to their business You VALUE your membership BALI Annual Membership 2023 Membership
Well or very well Well or very well SUPPORTING ENDEAVOUR 87% CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE 95% DEMONSTRATING LEADERSHIP 86% Well or very well Well or very well
does BALI DELIVER against its values?
Survey Results
could the Association IMPROVE UPON?


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Grand Award winner 2023 Battersea Power Station Phase 2

In December, Willerby Landscapes’ exemplary work on Battersea Power Station Phase 2 was recognised by the BALI Awards judging panel, receiving the highest accolade – the Grand Award. An iconic building, transformed into a mixed-use development, with the building work complemented by the numerous gardens, courtyards, terraces, balconies and walkways, all completed by Willerby Landscapes.

Following the Awards ceremony, Landscape News caught up with Matt Ainscow, Operations Director, and Ed Verity, Contracts Manager from Willerby Landscapes to find out more about the project and some of the challenges they had to overcome.

How many people in total worked on this project from Willerby?

Ed: From when the contract was awarded in Autumn 2019, to completion in June 2022, we had over 100 individuals working on Battersea. At its peak, there were 55 operatives on site, covering a wide range of specialisms. In total, more than 20,000 labour hours went into delivering the work.

The project architect Wilkinson Eyre highlights the highest level of quality on this project – how did you achieve and maintain this on a project of such a massive scale?

Matt: Achieving a consistent high-quality finish was vital, so it was important to keep the workforce together for the duration of the project. The team really bought into the delivery process and took pride in their work so that the pattern of details joined up consistently across the different roofs.

How did you consider the blending of the new with the old?

Matt: The Battersea Power Station renovation was such a momentous project for London, and integrating the new landscape elements with the historic features of the building was fundamental to the overall restoration.

Building a close working relationship with the project design team, as well as the many other specialist contractors restoring the fabric of the old building, was very important. Without good design solutions, it would have been impossible to achieve the detail consistency necessary to blend the old and new sympathetically.

Irrigation of the roof gardens would be a major consideration. What processes have been put in place?

Ed: The scheme is watered by an automatic irrigation system fed from a basement plantroom. In order to share pipework and water storage space, this system also irrigates elements of the external public realm landscaping. The system timings are carefully planned and controlled, with the roof garden lawns and external areas being irrigated overnight while they are not being used, and the shrub areas being watered at intervals during the remainder of the cycle. We consider automated irrigation to be a tool for use as needed but not relied on without monitoring. We core tested regularly during both the build and maintenance periods to ensure that no areas were being over or under-watered. We have valves within the system to allow selected areas to be adjusted as required.

Willerby Landscapes worked with over 100 suppliers for this project, along with numerous contractors working on other elements of the project. How did you reconcile this on site?

Ed: As well as innumerable progress and programme meetings, having a detailed procurement programme was paramount. Using the Willerby Landscapes yard space effectively to hold some materials was extremely important as it meant we could work within the ‘just in time' delivery strategy and coordinate across a large number of trade contractors and stakeholders, including the supply chain.

Although you have experience working on large projects, was there anything new you have learned during this project?

Matt: The pandemic had a huge impact on how the project was delivered. This didn’t only affect the site teams via “lockdown”, but many elements of our supply chain were disrupted. Nursery production in Europe stopped under legislation that was stricter than the UK, many materials were in short supply and had to be procured from alternative sources, and even after works recommenced, multiple operative tasks couldn’t be completed unless done so by groups that lived and worked in a ‘bubble’. Dealing with such a huge change in our working methodology was a steep learning curve for all involved, but a positive and proactive approach from the entire staff and supply chain culminated in an overall successful installation.

What do you think it was about Battersea Power Station Roof Gardens that elevated it to be the Grand Award winner?

Ed: The scale and complexity of the project, as well as the restrictions of the pandemic, made delivering Battersea Power Station Roof Gardens an unprecedented challenge. Achieving the result we did without compromising on quality was a fantastic effort from the whole team.

Logistics formed one of the key challenges to the project’s delivery, as at the time the Battersea Power Station development was one of the largest construction sites in Europe. At one point 21 cranes were working across the site, so establishing a dedicated distribution team to deal with the huge volume of material that had to get up onto the roofs was a cornerstone to the project’s success.

To fit into the overall project sequence, we decided to lift the trees and plants to the roofs early in the programme and establish temporary nurseries. One benefit of this effort was that many of the softworks maintenance team could become involved in aspects of the install phase, seeing the soil build-ups come together and engaging in the placement of the planting. They could then seamlessly move into the maintenance and management role.

What does it mean to you to win the Grand Award?

Ed: It means everything to win the Grand Award as it is recognition from the industry –it’s an incredibly satisfying way to conclude the project. Makes all the hard work worthwhile!

Matt: The recognition means a huge amount to me personally, but I genuinely believe the award is a reflection of the effort and dedication of the Willerby team at all levels.


The transition to independent dispute resolution

Members will have noticed the postpandemic demand for products and services shows little sign of abating in 2024, despite widespread reports of challenging economic conditions and cost of living concerns.

However, whilst order books and diaries continue to be booked into spring/summer 2024, the Association has received reports of domestic clients increasingly focussing on cost above all other metrics when commissioning contractors, and on occasion becoming unreasonable in their expectations. This trend has been reported in projects of all budgets, but particularly sub-£25,000.

The implication of this is that members are increasingly being challenged for discounts on work after a price has been agreed and on occasion even after work has been completed. This pressure for discounts is often accompanied by spurious snagging lists and allegations that expectations have not been met.

The Association has observed an increase in demand for their dispute resolution service, which they believe is associated with this increasingly challenging customer culture.

The rise in the use of dispute services has led the Association to review its service offering and ensure members are protected from disputes. The Association has already updated the suite of learning materials offered to members via the website, including standard contract templates, terms and conditions, and best practices for managing tricky clients.

The current method of settling disputes using internal staff is a balancing act for the Association, which must tread a fine line between managing the expectations of both parties, upholding the Association’s code of practice, and preventing an expensive trip to court for either party.

One weakness of the existing dispute system offered by the Association is the potential for accusations of bias from domestic clients of members when they do not receive the verdict they hoped for. Whilst the Association has sought to mitigate this by operating transparently with clients and members alike, the Association acknowledge the potential conflict of interest and has investigated alternative methods of dispute resolution.

Historically, the last resort for disagreements between clients and tradespeople was the courts. Options for relatively low value civil claims such as small claims, fast track and multi-track simplified the process and proved popular amongst trades people and clients involved in disputes.

However, a significant backlog arose during pandemic lockdowns and resulted in long waiting times for court hearings, which continue to the present day. Delays of over 12 months are still common.

To reduce the burden on the courts, a greater emphasis has been placed on dispute resolution services, which seek to resolve disputes before they reach the courts. In many cases, a court will specify dispute resolution before initiating court proceedings.

Since October 2015, tradespeople who provide goods or services to domestic customers have been required to make their customers aware (generally within their contractual terms and conditions) whether they intend to use a dispute resolution service in the event of a disagreement with their customers.

As with other, non-regulated sectors, landscapers are currently permitted to use an informal, non-accredited dispute resolution service, such as that provided by the British Association of Landscape Industries.

The use of non-accredited dispute resolution services is unique to nonregulated sectors; regulated sectors, such as finance, travel and energy, are required by law to use an accredited alternative dispute resolution service provider, which means the dispute service is accredited by a devolved authority. Industry insiders believe the requirement for accredited dispute providers is likely to extend to other sectors in the future and home improvement (which includes landscaping) is likely to be included in this expansion.

In light of this shift towards a more regulated dispute resolution system, the Association approached accredited third-party providers of dispute services to identify opportunities for collaboration. Following a review, the decision has been made to appoint the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, an independent, not-for-profit government-approved organisation set up by the Office of Fair Trading in 1992 to help resolve disputes and raise standards.

Appointing the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman will ensure members and their clients are supported by staff trained to deal with disputes, together with resources to collect and assess evidence, issue guidance and ensure disagreements are dealt with faster, and more efficiently, than the current system. The Association will continue to be involved with the provision of technical assistance, and independent experts used where site visits are necessary.

Over the next few weeks, the Association will contact members directly with details of how the new system will work and how to use it.

OPEN FOR ENTRIES Accredited Contractor & Group/Accredited Designer Categories Early Bird Discount Deadline: 24 April 2024 Final Deadline: 3 June 2024 For general enquiries, contact Emily Feeney Telephone: 07936 944258 Email: Supplier Exceptional Service/Employer Excellence Categories Early Bird Discount Deadline: 3 June 2024 Final Deadline: 5 July 2024 The National Landscape Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday 6 December 2024, JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London Visit for entry criteria and to start your entry For sponsorship opportunities, contact Joanna Pieprzak Telephone: 07842 436597 Email: @BALI_Landscape balilandscapeuk International Early Bird Discount Deadline: 3 June 2024 Final Deadline: 5 July 2024 HEADLINE SPONSOR SPONSORED BY Topsoil Green-tree UK LIMITED

Entries open for the 48th National Landscape Awards

Project Manager

Iam delighted to confirm that entries for this year’s National Landscape Awards are now open. This year we have 30 categories open for entry, with all category winners automatically being eligible to win one of our Special Awards, which include Best First Time Entrant, Best Design and Build and Best Newcomer to BALI.

To assist members with the online entry process Chair of the Judging Panel, John Melmoe and I held another successful online workshop on 15 March, centred around key areas of the entry process to help members get ahead on their submissions. This workshop is now

available on-demand through the Awards website, as well as in your members area of the BALI website.

Headline sponsor Green-tech

Green-tech, the UK’s largest award-winning landscaping supplier, will once again be the National Landscape Awards headline sponsor. This year marks the culmination of their decade-long commitment to celebrating and honouring outstanding achievements in the realm of landscaping.

" As we reflect on the past decade, we are immensely proud to have been part of the National Landscape Awards, a platform that

Entry deadlines and costs

has consistently showcased the incredible talent and dedication within the landscaping industry. It has been a privilege to witness the transformative power of these projects and companies ." said Kris Nellist, Managing Director.

“Our commitment to the landscaping community remains steadfast. Whilst this year marks the end of our headline sponsorship, we look forward to exploring new ways to collaborate and contribute to the growth and advancement of the landscape industry," Kris affirmed.

I, and the rest of the team at Landscape House, would like to express our gratitude for Green-tech's decade-long support and acknowledge the significant impact of their sponsorship in elevating the profile of the National Landscape Awards.


LANDSCAPE NEWS SPRING 2024 13 Accredited Contractor & Group and Accredited Designer Categories Early bird discount deadline 24 April 2024 - £225 per entry (Additional entries: £200 per entry) Final deadline 3 June 2024 - £260 per entry (Additional entries: £235 per entry) First time entrant deadline £155 per entry International Category Early bird discount deadline 3 June 2024 - £325 per entry (Additional entries: £300 per entry) Final deadline 5 July 2024 - £360 per entry (Additional entries: £335 per entry) First time entrant deadline £255 per entry Supplier Exceptional Service and Employer Excellence Categories Early bird discount deadline 3 June 2024 - £225 per entry (Additional entries: £200 per entry) Final deadline 5 July 2024 - £260 per entry (Additional entries: £235 per entry) First time entrant deadline £155 per entry
you have any questions relating to your entry then please do not hesitate to contact me: E: | T: 07936 944258
sponsorship enquiries, please contact Media Sales & Sponsorship Officer, Joanna Pieprzak: E: | T:

Industry Accreditation SmartCard withdrawal December 2024

Industry Accreditation (IA) is one way in which people working in the landbased industry have obtained a LISS/CSCS card. This route allowed workers to obtain LISS/CSCS cards on the strength of an employers’ recommendation rather than the achievement of a recognised qualification. LISS/CSCS closed IA to new applicants in 2013 but those already holding a card have been able to renew on the same basis.

The withdrawal of Industry Accreditation

LISS/CSCS is led by CSCS, who are bound by the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) requirement that all industry card schemes must operate with nationally recognised qualifications in place for all occupations. CSCS has consulted with the industry and agreed on a plan that will pave the way for the eventual withdrawal of cards issued under IA.

There are two key dates to note. LISS/ CSCS will stop issuing renewal cards from 30 June 2024. All LISS/CSCS cards renewed under IA will expire on 31 December 2024, irrespective of when the card was renewed.

The withdrawal of IA will be the final step towards achieving the Construction Leadership Council’s objective of ensuring SmartCards are only issued to those who have achieved or are in the process of achieving a nationally recognised landbased related qualification.

With the deadline for withdrawal of cards issued under IA pending, what are the options for those who have this card?

1. Vocational qualifications already achieved: Cardholders who have achieved the qualifications for their occupation can renew their card for the full five-year term as normal.

2. Academically Qualified Person card: This card is available to people who have completed certain Landscape and Maintenance related degrees, HNDs, HNC’s and foundation degrees.

3. Professionally Qualified Person card: This card is available to competenceassessed members of LISS/CSCS approved professional bodies, including the Landscape Institute, CIEEM, CIWEM or the CIoH.

4. Not everyone needs a card: There will be IA card holders who no longer require their LISS/CSCS cards. For example, you may have moved into a management role, become a director, or rarely visit site. In these scenarios, you do not require a LISS/CSCS card.

Those unable to fit into these four scenarios will be required to register for the appropriate qualification for their occupation before their cards expire in December 2024. Once you have registered you will be able to apply for a red trainee card, which once you have completed your qualification you can upgrade to another smartcard at the appropriate level.

Please note the trainee card is not renewable after 5 years.

What will happen next?

What each individual needs to do next depends on their occupation and what qualifications they may already hold.

To apply for a skilled LISS/CSCS card, an applicant must either:

• hold a nationally recognised land-based related qualification, or

• be a member of a professional body

• hold a relevant license(s) with the licensing authorities in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

If you do not have a recognised qualification or are a member of a professional body, LISS/CSCS can issue you with a Trainee (Red) card. However, before this can be issued, you must be registered with the appropriate qualification for your occupation.

To find a college or training provider who delivers the qualification you require, enter the qualification name into the OFQUAL register of regulated qualifications.

The LISS/CSCS team are on hand to support you and your team through the transition. They will be happy to talk through your application and discuss which requirements would be most relevant to help you achieve the card you require.

Please call on 024 7669 0333 or email


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12/02/2024 17:24

Proven Winners® Design Competition with Provender Nurseries – winner announced

Provender Nurseries, in collaboration with Proven Winners®, are delighted to announce the winner for their Proven Winners Design Competition.

The Proven Winners® Design Competition with Provender Nurseries was launched in October 2023 at the Problem-Solving Plants event and attracted over 20 entries from Provender Nurseries customers.

The three judges, Esther Wientjens of Valkplant, Mark Lane award-winning garden and landscape designer, and Richard Burt Sales Director at Accredited Supplier Provender Nurseries, selected the winning design by Spencer Lawrence of Spatial Garden Design, stating that the design had “great plant combinations for all year-round interest, beautifully crafted documentation highlighting the differences for each season and a real understanding of the brief.”

The brief stated that the design should have maximum impact, will be used as a demonstration and educational area, comprise of plants from the Proven Winners® range, and the plant choice should reflect year-round interest.

“When I saw the Proven Winners design competition, I thought it would be a really good opportunity to showcase my work. I was very inspired by the brief as Proven Winners have a great range of plants all with very different characteristics. Working from a prescribed plant list would be a challenge, challenged further still as they were all shrubs, which would mean using them creatively – almost treating some as if they were small trees and others to play the role of herbaceous plants – which really captured my imagination.”

Spencer of Spatial Design, a regular customer of Provender Nurseries said

Goal setting in spring

It is common to set new goals at the start of each new year. However, those good intentions are often broken by the time spring comes. Don’t accept defeat! Instead, use spring, the time for new beginnings, as the time to reassess where your business is now and where you want it to be.

Setting goals for your business is an essential part of achieving success, as it provides an opportunity for you to measure the progress of your business, identify areas of improvement, and plan for the future. It allows you to focus on what you want to

achieve and creates a roadmap for your business’s development. Also, it helps to motivate you and your team, as you can work towards specific objectives and celebrate your successes.

You should ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable, yet also stretching. Break them down by quarter, then monitor and tweak them throughout the year. At the end of each quarter, reassess and adjust the goals as necessary. They should be specific, measurable and aligned with your overall business strategy.

Richard Burt, Sales Director at Provender Nurseries said “the workmanship of all of the entries was extremely high, with very different interpretations of the brief. Spencer showed an appreciation of each season and produced a well-thought-out plan with added details. I am looking forward to seeing Spencer’s design come to fruition.”

Spencer’s design will be planted in March in a prime position along the entranceway into Provender Nurseries.

So, how do you decide what these goals should be? The best way is to gain a deeper understanding of how and what has impacted your business over the past year and how this will influence next year. Analyse your financial data and look for any shifts in profitability and cash flow. Compare last month’s figures with the prior month and also that same month in the previous year and think about what has happened in the business to create the differences. Consider whether there have been any changes in the economic environment that may have impacted your business plus any non-financial factors that may have contributed to changes in business performance. Analyse what your competitors are doing and identify any key trends in the market. When you have this deeper understanding of your business, you can set your new goals, make plans for the future and better business decisions.

By setting clear, achievable goals, you will be able to stay focused on your objectives, be organised and motivated and be able to measure progress. This will ensure that your business is on the right track and is primed to reach its full potential in the coming months and years.


Create winning landscapes with Otterbine

The impact of a water feature in a garden or communal landscape is hard to quantify. It’s not just that they elevate the space, bringing beauty and making an attractive focal point, although they do that wonderfully well! It’s the wellbeing elements that make them so invaluable.

Peace, a sense of calm and tranquillity rest alongside scientific evidence that

flowing water releases negative ions, boosts mood and relieves stress. It is proven that water features can lower blood pressure and improve physical and mental health.

So, when it comes to designing the next garden, outdoor space or commercial landscape, a water feature should be a must-have element to make the perfect relaxing spot for clients.

Irrigation systems need TLC – starting now!

With changes to our climate, irrigation systems may be operational until November, and within a few months, attention is turned again to the spring start-up. No matter how long it has been turned off, an irrigation system should not be restarted until it has been fully tested, so that existing or emerging problems can be rectified, and the year starts with a fully functioning system.

Whatever the complexity of the installation, it then needs to be managed accordingly under a planned maintenance regime. This will help to ensure reliable and consistent performance throughout the seasons, as operational capacity is increased to 100% or higher in the peak dry weeks of summer.

The irrigation technology may range from simple sprinklers or surface dripline to sophisticated, remotely managed fully automated systems. Start-up checks should cover all elements, helping to reduce costly call-outs and repairs, water wastage and longer-term damage to landscapes.

Water should be turned on slowly to prevent sudden pressure from causing damage to any part of the installation. There may be a need to flush the system and clear out unwanted particles. Sprinkler heads can get blocked not just over winter but throughout the seasons. They should all be checked to ensure also

that they rotate correctly and still achieve the required coverage.

Damage caused by rodents, other animals, or garden tools as well as general wear and tear can be assessed when checking surface dripline. Out-of-sight irrigation delivery systems must also be thoroughly inspected for breakages or leaks to prevent water wastage and ensure low pressure does not result in parts of the landscape receiving insufficient irrigation.

Larger areas are frequently split into irrigation zones with individual watering schedules according to planting. Control valves and controllers should be checked for correct set-up and cycle times, as well as tested for electrical or supply issues.

In the design and specification stage, whatever size of pond or lake is incorporated, know that Otterbine, distributed by Accredited Supplier Reesink UK, ensures that the water body stays as clean, clear and healthy as the day it was installed. The range of aerating fountains and diffused aeration, small pond and giant fountains suit almost all water bodies, and they are the easy solution for maintaining water quality – no chemicals, no pollution.

In fact, choosing Otterbine puts clients in good company, as their most recent customer is the Royal Horticultural Society. Otterbine’s giant Polaris fountain was chosen to make the water in a rainwater capture lake good enough to irrigate one of the largest plant collections in the world, seen by around a million visitors a year at RHS Garden Wisley in Woking.

Supply is convenient, as Otterbine is distributed in the UK via Reesink UK, the award-winning distributor and its network of irrigation contractors and specialists. With robust warranties and outstanding backup and support, all it takes is a phone call to find out which product is best suited to your design project.

After the spring start-up, water conservation, cost control and ensuring no under-watering in the drier weeks are continuing considerations. Depending on the installation, mid-season or more regular planned visits need to be part of every management regime before proper winterisation. It will pay dividends to use experienced professionals to undertake this work as they can also recommend how the performance of the system could be improved through adjustments to watering schedules or investment in additional technology such as flow and rain sensors.

Accredited Supplier Waterscapes has vast experience in the design, installation and maintenance of commercial, residential and public sector irrigation systems and water features. The company has a dedicated team of highly experienced professionals to support their nationwide customer base. For more information visit


Green-tech help to reduce the risk of flooding in Leeds city

Leeds City Council is working with the Environment Agency on their Flood Alleviation Scheme Phase 2 (FAS2) to reduce the risk of flooding of a 14km stretch between Leeds train station and Apperley Bridge.

The project is designed to protect 1,048 homes and 474 businesses through a combination of traditional engineering methods and natural flood management. Due for completion in spring 2024, it is expected that the flood risk will be reduced to a 0.5% probability of occurring in any given year (a 1-in-200-year level of flood protection).

BAM Nuttall is a construction and civil engineering company that delivers key pieces of infrastructure across the UK, from railways to wind farms. They use digital engineering and a net zero carbon approach, placing sustainability at their core.

Part of the scheme included work on the bank of the River Aire upstream of Kirkstall Bridge using an earth embankment or steel sheet piled flood walls in some areas. The embankment will tie into flood walls, that will extend up to the existing Kirkstall Bridge. This section of railway line connects Leeds with Shipley and Bradford and has flooded several times in the past, and currently remains at risk.

Alongside the embankment and flood walls, 2.4 hectares of landscape and ecological enhancements are being implemented in Kirkstall Meadows. This work includes the creation of wetland scrapes and various interventions to support local wildlife.

The project was subject to planning conditions that required reinstatement or protection of vegetated features along the riverbank where the construction of hard flood defences would otherwise have compromised the permanent river-side ecology.

Sub-agent Jim Mitchell, comments, “Green-tech was chosen as the products they offered were designed exactly for this purpose. They were able to supply products that complied with the project specification and offered expert advice on alternative solutions that improved buildability and function.“

For this part of the project, Accredited Supplier Green-tech supplied 45 preestablished Coir Edge Sods which comprise five different aquatic plant species mixes. This unique system incorporates preestablished vegetation within the face of stone-filled gabions which is an integral part of the erosion control solution for a water’s edge, even where the projects require hard engineering solutions. This innovative, green erosion control system

helps when the stability of engineering with gabions is combined with the benefits of immediate vegetation to provide rapid environmental and ecological regeneration.

20 gt Coir Log Rolls were supplied. These are cost-effective and an excellent technique for establishing marginal vegetation around lake edges, streams, and river banks. Compressed coir fibre encased in woven polyethylene or coir netting, gt Coir Log Rolls can be supplied pre-established with UK native species or unplanted.

These were accompanied by 20 gt Rock Rolls - designed to help reduce and prevent long-term erosion and allow for the ground to stay stabilised. Commonly used around watercourse shorelines, high-flow riverbanks, and streams, gt Rock Rolls are UV-stabilised polypropylene mesh filled with gabion stones. They are ideal for creating a solid foundation for installing pre-vegetated coir products - the roots of the emergent plants grow into the voids of the rock rolls, giving long-term erosion control and bank support. Gt Rock Rolls installed below coir units can also be used to support a filter fabric or biodegradable matting.


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Avanti Landscape Supplies (T/A British Flora) merges into Phoenix Amenity Supplies

Accredited Supplier Avanti Landscape Supplies T/A British Flora and Phoenix Amenity Supplies, leading providers of high-quality grass and wildflower seed, plants, and associated products, are thrilled to announce a strategic decision to consolidate Avanti Landscape Supplies T/A British Flora under the well-established Phoenix Amenity Supplies brand. This move is aimed at streamlining operations and offering customers a more cohesive and simplified experience.

As of 1 February, the products previously marketed under the British Flora tradename

will be seamlessly integrated into the Phoenix Amenity product line. This consolidation is part of Phoenix Amenity Supplies ongoing commitment to improve our service and bring their products under one easily identifiable brand.

Phoenix Amenity Supplies (previously British Flora) offers a complete range of British Native flora with full British provenance that is grown exclusively in a purpose-built nursery, including native wildflowers, grasses, marginals & aquatics. Offering the expertise of 20 years of continued service with a new, streamlined

Boughton BLS Plus named as finalist for Sustainable Product of the Year Award

Boughton - a leading natural growing media supplier - is celebrating after its BLS Plus Topsoil was recognised as a finalist at the 2024 Society of Garden Designer (SGD) Awards in the brand-new Sustainable Product of the Year category.

It was an exciting evening for Accredited Supplier Boughton at the SGD awards in London, where its top-performing BLS Plus - Natural Topsoil was shortlisted for the Sustainable Product of the Year Award, with the brand-new category making its debut at the 2024 event.

Open to affiliated business partners only, the award was created to put the spotlight on ‘known or innovative products manufactured with renewable or largely recycled or reused materials, which minimise or reverse

detrimental environmental impact during production and consider the product’s entire life cycle, including how it is recycled/ repurposed at the end of its life.’

Boughton’s BLS Plus Topsoil resonated with this year’s judging panel, who shortlisted the product in the top three.

Repurposed, single-source, screened and 100% natural, and usually of a medium clay loam classification, BLS Plus enjoys added natural, organic, vegetative digestate biproduct to create a premium topsoil. Rich in organic matter content and benefitting from excellent moisture and nutrient retention capabilities, BLS Plus is best suited to largescale, ground level, planting projects.

Simon Hedley, Managing Director at

approach that should make life easier for customers to navigate as the company begins their next 20 years of business.

Phoenix Amenity Supplies has always been at the forefront of innovation and research into producing high quality British native plants from seed and vegetative production. They produce commercial quantities of native plants for a diverse range of applications such as remediation, reed beds, wildlife habitat creation and latterly native species green roofs.

Boughton said: “We are delighted to have our BLS Plus Topsoil named as a finalist for the Sustainable Product of the Year. It was a real honour to be shortlisted during the category’s inaugural year and we are absolutely over the moon.”

Simon continued: “We are huge advocates for the use of natural soils and the value they bring to landscaping projects, so it is great to see our BLS Plus – Natural Topsoil in the spotlight and to receive recognition at such a prestigious awards event for our unwavering commitment to helping create sustainable and environmentally-responsible gardens and landscapes.”

The celebration didn’t stop there for Boughton, as designer Andy Sturgeon took home two awards on the night for his green roof gardens that formed part of the iconic redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station – a project that employed Boughton’s IN1 Intensive Green Roof Substrate.

Described by judges as an "a quite extraordinary piece of work.” Andy’s Battersea Power Station roof gardens won both the UK International Roof, Podium or Raised Courtyard Gardens Award and the Grand Award. The judging panel said of the project, which features a cloud-like planting scheme, supported by Boughton’s green roof substrate: “The endeavour, scale of work and creativity are fantastic, and the execution is beautiful.”


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Equipment theft: a growing concern and proposed legislation’s impact on the industry

Crime has dominated news headlines recently, with an escalation in shoplifting, vehicle theft, and more violent crimes being reported. Whilst the latest Crime Survey (June 2023) statistics for England and Wales revealed a 10% drop in reported crime compared to the previous year, there is an alarming 11% increase in robbery.

Members are also likely aware of the increase in theft from tradespeople, which has been widely reported by the media. Freedom of Information (FOI) requests performed by other trade associations have revealed a 25% increase in tool theft from vehicles between 2022 and 2023, and the startling statistic that 78% of tradespeople have experienced theft.

The BALI National Contractors Forum (BALI-NCF) regularly meet to discuss industry issues and exchange best practice to solve shared challenges. Equipment theft has been a key concern for Forum members during recent months, with businesses reporting incidents and losses ranging from building materials and small handheld tools to vehicles and large plant.

As with construction, trades and rural communities, the equipment used and nature of work completed by the landscape industry presents a challenge for members to secure their property, particularly where work is transient and relies on the use of handheld or wheeled/tracked equipment being transported or stored in vans or trailers in remote locations.

Association members have reported opportunistic thefts from vans where equipment is temporarily stored or being transported. Similarly, remote, sitebased storage facilities such as shipping containers are frequently targeted due to the ease with which access can be gained and equipment moved.

Thefts from permanent, secure sites have also been reported, despite members implementing security measures including locked gates, retractable bollards, CCTV, alarms, buildings, tracking devices and security markings.

In one example shared by a member, over £100k of equipment was stolen in broad daylight from a secure site (security patrols and barriered entry) from a locked unit, fitted with an alarm and anti-ram raid bollards. A large group of people with vehicles and caravans entered the site and the equipment was removed. The security patrol and the police would not intervene – the equipment was never recovered and was replaced following an insurance claim.

Thefts of landscape equipment from fixed sites and compounds have parallels with crime from agricultural and rural premises - which have also recorded a significant increase during recent years. The National Farmers Union (NFU) recently reported the cost of rural theft increased by 22% as organised criminal gangs targeted farm machinery and global positioning

systems, as well as quads/ATV and general machinery.

Due to the type of equipment stolen and willingness of thieves to evade security measures, thefts generally result in significant damage, operational downtime, and financial consequences for victims. Although rare, physical attacks have also been reported by BALI-NCF members, particularly where equipment being targeted is high value. On one occasion, a member of staff was physically attacked while a trailer and other equipment was stolen from the towing vehicle that he was driving.

BALI’s Technical Officer, Owen Baker, was tasked by the Forum members to establish the extent of incidences of theft within the industry, what measures are being taken to combat theft by the government and what options are open to members of the industry to protect their property.

In the first instance, Owen filed numerous Freedom of Information requests to police forces in England, Wales, and Scotland to identify the volume of landscape equipment being stolen, where it is stolen from, how it is stolen, what percentage is recovered and where it is recovered from.

Whilst the request confirmed theft of landscape equipment was increasing, data disclosed by police forces was inconsistent and did not provide sufficient detail to identify trends. Half of the forces


contacted were unable to provide the data requested due to limitations of their recording systems, whilst those that could were only able to provide basic information regarding numbers of equipment stolen and a broad description of the item. Few forces were able to distinguish between equipment stolen from domestic and commercial addresses.

It became apparent the systems used by police forces to log the details of stolen equipment are limited; none of the police forces contacted by Owen recorded whether stolen equipment contained either a tracking device or unique identifier at the time of the theft, and data revealed very little equipment was returned to its owner. This was particularly apparent in the case of hand-held equipment such as chainsaws, brush cutters and hedge trimmers.

The data supplied as part of the freedom of information requests could not be used by the Association to draw any meaningful conclusions.

In the absence of data sourced directly from police forces, Owen organised meetings with stakeholders including manufacturers, equipment users, the police force, and Home Office. These meetings revealed a stark contrast in attitudes towards prevention of crime.

The solution proposed by the Home Office to reduce rural theft and construction equipment is the creation of the Equipment Theft Act. This Act, which will apply to England only, aims to prevent the theft and resale of agricultural vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles (ATV), as well as handheld tools used by tradespeople, by mandating the use of immobilisers on all-terrain vehicles and the use of identification markings on other handheld equipment which will be registered by equipment dealers at point of sale.

Whilst the full remit of the Act is yet to be finalised, it could potentially empower the Secretary of State to restrict the sale of certain equipment within England unless product manufacturers and/or dealers implement security measures.

Whilst the Act may appear to represent a sensible solution, review of third-party research into the nature of rural crime, which has been used to support the development of the Act, reveals the Act alone is unlikely to reduce crime levels and may have unintended consequences in its current format. This concern is also held by equipment manufacturers and trade associations.

Rural crime and plant theft frequently fail to meet police prioritisation thresholds due to the lack of threat, harm and risk posed by the crime. As a consequence, this type of crime

receives less funding than those deemed more serious and is under-resourced in terms of police officers assigned to cases, but also investment of technology to tackle the crimes.

Due to the nature of rural and plant theft where equipment is stolen from one area and sold in another, identifying stolen equipment and recovering it relies on forces working across borders by accurately recording stolen equipment and liaising across geographic areas.

Unfortunately, this collaboration isn’t happening. Official police channels are slow and cumbersome, and research revealed few forces communicate across borders. Furthermore, the police national database (PND), which was introduced to prevent and disrupt serious and organised crime is under-used by forces. Few officers are sufficiently trained to identify and understand the equipment stolen, which means theft is under or mis-reported. This lack of adequate reporting explains the lack of detail provided by police forces in response to Freedom of Information requests raised by the Association.

Equipment is stolen depending on its value and desirability, and ability to be re-sold easily. Committed criminals are not dissuaded by the presence of security either on the premises or attached to equipment, meaning tracking equipment once it has been stolen and identifying stolen items is key to recovery rates.

Accredited member, ABAX, who offer tracking solutions for all types of equipment ranging from vehicles and large plant to smaller machinery and handheld tools have recorded an increase in demand for their services, driven by an increase in theft of vehicles, tools and plant.

When asked about their experience, a representative confirmed the use of trackers has revealed patterns in how criminals operate, which can be exploited to ensure equipment is returned to its owner. However, recovery relies on swift response from the police as soon as the items are reported stolen.

Their experience suggests equipment is frequently removed from an owners’ site, building or compound, and stored within a 10-mile radius in a building, compound or vehicle that cannot be directly linked to the criminal. The reason for this is to identify whether the item is fitted with a tracker; a criminal will temporarily dissociate themselves from the stolen item until they are sure the item is unlikely to be reclaimed. If the item is not collected with 24/48 hours by the owner or police force, it is unlikely to be tracked and can be transported for resale or breaking.

Collaboration with police to recover stolen tracked items is usually successful, providing forces respond swiftly to reports of items being stolen. After 24/48 hours, the likelihood of items being recovered decreases,


as items are either broken for parts or distributed to a different geographic area.

Despite research by academics and police forces, little is known about the disposal routes used for stolen equipment. Assumptions include unscrupulous machinery dealers, use of Facebook Marketplace, eBay and car boot sales, as well as trading and exchange of stolen items within groups.

Research suggests selling stolen commercial equipment to UK buyers is not without its challenges. Feedback from tradespeople or professional users suggests they are unlikely to purchase equipment from unknown third parties, due to the fear of purchasing items stolen from fellow tradespersons. For this reason, stolen tools are more likely to be successfully re-sold via informal channels to domestic customers, for example via internet auction sites or car boot sales.

An accredited contractor member of the Association who fitted assets with Apple AirTag devices traced their stolen equipment to a local car boot sale, a short distance from where it had been stolen.

Whilst larger construction plant is known to be exported from the UK, little is known about the destination. Brexit has reduced the ease with which police forces in the UK can communicate with forces in the EU.


The recommendations made in the report used by the Home Office to shape the Equipment Theft Act include improved liaison between police forces, targeting

known disposal routes, incentivising equipment owners to take additional precautions, and working with manufacturers to develop anti-theft measures on products. Only when working in collaboration will these measures address the trend in equipment theft within the industry.

Unfortunately, the approach taken by the Home Office in the current version of the Equipment Theft Act places the burden of change solely on manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, and fails to implement other measures recommended by the report.

Feedback from manufacturers and other trade associations reveals the Equipment Theft Act was drafted by the Home Office and police forces without any meaningful consultation, which has resulted in proposals which do not consider the technicalities of incorporating immobilisers into equipment or logging identification numbers with dealers.

Currently, the value of mandating immobilisers on larger equipment and placing details on a database on a website is limited unless the approach taken by police forces is improved. Having equipment details on a database is of little value if forces are not trained to use it, or if equipment is stolen, never recovered and fails to return to the dealer network for re-sale or service/repair.

Collaboration between the industry, manufacturers, and law enforcement is crucial in combating equipment theft. Through proactive engagement and by implementing appropriate security

measures, the landscape industry can tackle this growing concern head-on, ensuring a safer and more resilient future.

For the landscape industry a two-pronged approach is required to mitigating theft risks. For opportunistic thefts, physical deterrents such as lockboxes, chains, and maintaining sightlines between vehicles and working operatives should be employed.

For targeted thefts typically occurring at depot locations, security measures should be considered when establishing new depots. Features such as secure entrances, monitored alarms, CCTV, physical barriers, and security lighting can help deter criminals.

Research conducted by the Association suggests tracking devices currently represent the best method of ensuring equipment is recovered, by exploiting a window of opportunity factored in by criminals. However, success relies on the willingness of the police force to engage and retrieve equipment.


Saving water: irrigation and water source options

Changeable weather is a characteristic of the UK’s temperate climate and, since the landscape community is particularly sensitive to seasonal weather variations, most of us will remember unseasonably warm, cold, dry or wet years and the challenges this posed to the industry.

Even in countries shaped by a temperate climate, climate change is pushing the boundaries of this seasonal variation. Climate scientists believe the UK will experience warmer and wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, and more frequent and intense weather extremes.

Whilst climate change presents opportunities for the landscape industry in terms of planting palettes, it is also likely to challenge stakeholders to manage resources. The main challenge is collecting excess water during periods of high rainfall and storing it for use during prolonged periods of low rainfall. By 2050, heatwaves like that seen in 2018 and 2022 are expected to happen every other year.

Accessing sufficient supplies of water is forecast to become a challenge for both domestic and commercial users, and so far little action has been taken by leaders to mitigate this. Based on current progress, the Association predict government-led solutions will lag behind demand for many years.

The solution, therefore, is for industry members to ensure their operations and projects are protected as much as possible.

In this article, Zac Ribak, Managing Director of Accredited Supplier Watermatic shares ideas on how members can ensure access to water is maintained using the latest technology.

So, what are our options?

First off, Drip Irrigation, as part of an overall irrigation package, reduces water consumption by up to 90% compared to traditional methods making it a sustainable choice for water management. So much so that government regulations permit this even during hosepipe bans. As these bans happen more frequently it has major implications for both peace of mind and preserving valuable garden and landscape assets.

It also means that irrigation is a form of risk management that increasingly needs to be built into landscaping projects at all scales from patios to palaces.

As public awareness grows concerning water shortages the landscape industry needs to stay ahead of the curve or risk missing out on work going to others who have their eye more on the ball. That time has arrived for many, particularly at the higher end of the market, who do want the peace of mind, hosepipe ban protection and share the wish to make their landscapes environmentally sustainable as far as

possible. The cost versus benefit formula has changed for clients and this is the direction things have been moving in over recent years, with increasing numbers see the investment to be well worth it for all of these reasons.

Landscapers take note! Specialist irrigation installers design systems that use computers to select and operate the timings an optimize the watering schedules in appropriate zones based on soil moisture levels, soil types and plant requirements. Beware strict regulations covering tank and pump systems which require an

Drought areas in England and Wales 2023

anti-syphon air gap to prevent suck back contamination. Find an irrigation specialist that understands what you are trying to achieve overall for budget, system function and is horticulturally aware for the planting.

“The Intelligent Use of Valuable Water” This approach reduces wastage by ensuring that irrigation only occurs when and where necessary. Landscaping professionals can integrate these irrigation solutions into their own projects to enhance water efficiency and really improve customers’ outdoor spaces.

How to achieve results

Drip irrigation systems work by delivering water directly to the root zone/base of plants, minimising wastage and optimising efficiency. These systems use non syphoning pipes, pressure regulating tubes, and valves to control the flow of water, ensuring that plants receive the necessary moisture without excess runoff. Some types of pipe can be buried – but not all - so you want to avoid that pitfall or your warranties disappear.

Pop-up sprinkler irrigation heads do indeed pop up from their invisible cylinders when it is time to apply water and then retract automatically when the pressure drops. They are a mainstay but need careful thought and planning to avoid over/underlapping coverage.

Micro emitters do not pop - up, but they do deliver a spray close to the base and leaves of plants when needed. A useful tool for tailoring the irrigation plan to specific plant needs and infilling of irrigation water where needed. Tree irrigation rings are similar and provide the right amounts of water to these valuable items.

Pumps need to have the appropriate power and quality to integrate well with the system. After all, this is where the pressure is generated to support the water supply rate balanced with the tank capacity and water application rate.

Water sources are key and can come direct from the mains (with anti-syphon measures) as a potable source, but also from harvested rainwater, boreholes or wells. But it is a safety essential to know that we must regard anything other than from the mains as greywater and not fit for drinking as when rainwater is harvested it may well run through open roof guttering and surfaces open to bird and animal droppings and other contaminants.

Storage Tanks come in all shapes and sizes to suit difficult overground and underground spaces so they present their own issues when it comes to an integrated system that will deliver the best results. It requires some skill in locating these so they are inconspicuous, fitting into odd shaped spaces or not disturbing general functions on site.

Rainwater harvesting involves collecting and storing rainwater for later use. This technique reduces reliance on traditional water sources and helps mitigate the impact of low network pressure e.g. at the extremity of the water supply or where hilly ground causes pressure drops. And, of course, dreaded droughts. Many more projects are incorporating rainwater harvesting systems to supplement their water needs, contributing to a more sustainable water supply chain.

Boreholes and wells can really make a difference in some situations where

there is an opportunity to use existing (and sometimes quite ancient) water infrastructure. Some older wells are prone to need cleaning out of debris and general rubbish which can be a real task in itself. Smaller irrigation systems rarely need holes to be drilled or wells to be reinstated.

Drilling is sometimes used in larger systems particularly when water- bearing aquifer rocks are within reach of the drilling. They can deliver independence from the mains supply but building and lining holes in the ground can add chunky costs. It is also key to identify what rocks are present as not all rocks are equal from a water supply viewpoint. They can disappoint in quantity and quality.

Specific examples

Ideally, irrigation should be tailored to the particular needs of a landscape or garden rather than “one size fits all”. Where soil quality and drainage vary we can set up separate irrigation zones in groups based on watering needs where timings and quantities are each automatically controlled by a dedicated computer.

A specific zone may be dedicated to run lawn area pop-ups and sprinklers, Micro sprinklers and water emmiters which can be tailored for the needs of shrubs. An area with poor drainage would be in another zone delivering less water to suit that. We may use rain and moisture sensors to feedback on specific needs for each zone. And of course, well-drained soil would be supplied with appropriate amounts of water at the right times.

There can be zones for raised beds, planters, pots and trees. It can be flexible, too, with young yew hedges needing irrigation for a year or two and then again during droughts. Other trees may require specific levels of irrigation depending on type and situation.

How to specify your irrigation needs

This begins with awareness of the following main factors together with the desired overall final effect of the hard and soft landscaping together with planting scheme. Some sites have variable soil types, drainage conditions, sun facing exposure together with the availability of water and electrical power on site. If you can communicate these points early to your irrigation installation specialist things will run smoother, faster and possibly cheaper, too.

Thank you to Zak Ribak, Managing Director of Accredited Supplier Watermatic for supporting this editorial.


Carbon reduction and offsetting

As the world takes a more strategic approach to tackling the climate crisis, activities which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are facing increasing scrutiny.

Carbon dioxide has become the focus because, whilst it is not the only greenhouse gas, it currently has the most significant effect on the climate by preventing the escape of energy (heat) from the atmosphere and causing global temperatures to rise.

Global temperatures are very sensitive to change, which means maintaining an increase of just 1.5°C above historic levels last seen before the industrial revolution is key to reducing the risk of intense storms, fires, heatwaves, famines, and floods across all corners of the globe. An average temperature rise of only 2°C above preindustrial revolution levels is believed to push the world past dangerous tipping points from which there is no possibility of return.

Whilst carbon dioxide has always been released into the atmosphere by natural sources such as the ocean and decomposing vegetation, historically (before the industrial

revolution) this was offset by natural carbon dioxide sinks such as plants, soil and the ocean.

Human activity has upset this balance by releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than can be absorbed by existing sinks. Furthermore, by burning fossil fuels, humans have released millions of years of stored carbon back into the atmosphere, which has pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide from 300 parts per million (ppm) to nearly 410 ppm in a relatively short time frame.

The message shared by scientists is to reduce the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as much as possible, which will slow the global increase in temperature.

The challenge associated with this aim, is that the greatest contributors of carbon emissions are sectors and activities that have become an integral part of society: electricity and heat production, transport, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture. Without intervention, reduction of greenhouse gases – and avoiding irreversible climate change – will likely be unachievable.

The ambition amongst scientists and environmental groups is the adoption of the Net Zero concept.

Net Zero is a number calculated during the 2000s by scientists, in response to the question: what action is required on a global scale to reduce global temperature increases? The term refers to the reduction of all global greenhouse gas production to as close to zero as possible, leaving residual emissions to be reabsorbed by sinks such as plants, soil and the ocean. The Net Zero concept also relies on natural sinks being restored.

To incite action, the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, was signed by 196 parties (including the UK government) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris during December 2015. There is no official yardstick against which nationally determined contributions are measured: the Paris Agreement allows parties to define their own emission pathways to achieve global net zero.

The Climate Change Act 2008 is the basis for the UK’s approach to tackling and responding to climate change, with a target of achieving at least a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. Meeting the targets will require significant reduction in carbon dioxide production, which will extend to key sectors


including transport, energy production, construction, and agriculture.

The Net Zero strategy will help drive this achievement with smaller targets which aim to act as stepping stones towards the 2050 deadline.

Tackling climate change represents a huge challenge, which means the activities of individual organisations are accounted for within the UK Net Zero strategy. However, this does not mean organisations or individuals cannot pursue their own targets. Many have made their own individual net-zero pledges using in-house or third-party assessments, which have been encouraged by experts and environmental groups.

The speed with which sectors reduce their emissions ahead of the 2050 deadline depends partly on their business model but also their reliance on other sectors. Whilst carbon accounting tools have historically focussed on emissions produced internally by a business (i.e. how much fuel do I use in my work vehicles or equipment), modern interpretations promote review and reform of the entire supply chain, which can be challenging.

The term ‘scopes’ is commonly used to categorise the different kinds of emissions a company produces as part of its own operations, its suppliers and customers.

Three scopes are used:

Scope 1 (Direct emissions): Emissions from sources that an organisation owns or controls directly e.g. from burning fuel in vehicles or machinery.

Scope 2 (Indirect emissions): Emissions a company causes indirectly that come from where the energy it purchases and uses is produced e.g. the emissions caused by the generation of electricity that’s used in the company’s buildings.

Scope 3 (Indirect emissions): All other emissions not covered in scope 1 or 2 but are created by a company’s value chain. These include upstream emissions: producing activities such as business travel, employee commutes, machinery and tools used by business, as well as downstream emissions: producing activities such as use of sold products, disposal or recycling of sold products and investments.

Scope 3 emissions usually account for more than 70% of a business’ carbon footprint. Identifying emissions and devising a strategy to reduce these represents a significant commitment in time, research and finances, so it is not surprising research has revealed 76% of small businesses (SMEs with fewer than 250 employees) are yet

to implement a decarbonisation strategy, despite accounting for around half of total emissions from UK-based businesses.

The main obstacles cited by businesses to implementing strategies include cost, lack of appropriate technology, infrastructure, and an inability to find information.

In the absence of processes, products or services that produce zero carbon, most governments, organisations and even individuals are likely to be responsible for a residual carbon footprint remaining after they have taken all available mitigation measures and implemented technology as far as their knowledge, supply chain and finances currently allow.

To address this residual carbon footprint, many stakeholders have combined their own carbon reduction measures with investment in third-party enterprises which either seek to reduce the release of carbon dioxide or enhance a sink. This act of compensating for activities which produce carbon dioxide is referred to as carbon offsetting

Carbon offsetting is feasible because climate change is not a localised problem; greenhouse gases mix throughout the atmosphere, so reducing them anywhere contributes to overall climate protection. The principle of offsetting may therefore be implemented remotely from an organisation, to compensate carbon outputs of any scale from global to individual project or activity.

Carbon offsetting projects generally involve a long supply chain, linking the buyer of offsetting ‘credits’ with remote projects (generally in developing countries) that seek to protect carbon sinks, increase the efficiency or reduce the pollutants of existing processes.

Googling ‘carbon offsetting’ reveals a myriad of businesses who offer carbon offsetting packages for third party investment.

Projects offered include:

• forestry and conservation: planting new trees or protecting existing ones

• renewable energy: construction of wind, solar or hydro sites

• community projects: introducing energy efficient methods or technology

• waste to energy: capturing methane to generate electricity

Due to the ease with which offsets can be used instead of cutting emissions produced directly by an organisation or individual, offsetting is not universally popular.

Many climate scientists and environmental groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth believe the practices are driven

by a need to protect business and not the climate. Greenpeace has described offsetting as a form of greenwashing, due to the ease with which polluting events can continue. There is also an argument that over-reliance on offsetting simply moves the problem of meeting emissions targets to elsewhere, generally to developing countries.

Researchers generally agree there is a place for carbon offsetting in the sustainability agenda, but suggest businesses should use it to complement their approach to sustainability, rather than define it.

To improve accountability, standards associated with assessment of business activities in relation to carbon production and reduction have been established, which afford safeguards. For example, BSI PAS 2060 is a specification detailing how organisations, governments, communities and individuals can demonstrate carbon neutrality, taking into account scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. PAS 2060 also requires an organisation to develop a management plan, with time scales, reduction targets and means of achieving these.

How does carbon neutrality relate to the landscape industry?

The work of landscape professionals has historically been regarded as having a positive impact on the environment, particularly in relation to biodiversity and habitat creation, water management and well-being. However, in terms of carbon production, whilst the industry has the potential to act as a catalyst for positive change, the answer is not so obvious.

The landscape industry is unique in its ability to specify and install elements of a project such as trees, plants and soil, which have the potential to mitigate carbon directly on-site and accelerate the project becoming carbon neutral and, eventually, carbon positive (where carbon is removed from the atmosphere by components on the project).

However, use of trees and plants as a means to enhancing the carbon neutrality of a project requires consideration. Research has shown fast-growing trees (for example, Salix), are more likely to mitigate carbon expended during their cultivation in a nursery, transportation, and planting, than slower growing ones.

But as landscape professionals are aware, fast-growing trees (such as Salix) are often less suited to modern urban environments where, ironically, climate change has resulted in extremes of temperature and potential for water stress. Therefore, to have a positive effect in terms of long-term carbon


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emissions, trees must be specified according to their physiological needs, rather than simply their ability to sequester carbon.

In terms of carbon emissions for tree planting, research has suggested the single greatest source of carbon emissions when establishing an urban tree, regardless of geographic location, is during the excavation and planting of the specimen.

Any attempt to mitigate this, for example, by using equipment that has a lower carbon footprint, will result in a shorter period for the project to reach carbon neutrality.

Landscape construction

Most regulations relating to carbon calculation originate from the construction or building industries, and there is currently a lack of policy and resources specifically for the landscaping industry.

Despite this, principles derived from the construction industry can be applied to the landscape industry, particularly where landscape construction and materials are concerned.

The term embodied carbon is applicable to both the construction and landscape industry and refers to the greenhouse gas emissions generated to create a product or complete a project, excluding the operational emissions of the product or project deliverable. Considerable scientific research has been carried out on embodied carbon in the construction industry, which can help guide working practices in the landscape industry.

During the construction phase, the use and transportation of construction

materials, the operation of construction equipment, and the activities and lives of construction workers account for the majority of carbon emissions. Using sustainable materials during construction can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30%. Carbon emissions can also be reduced by utilising sustainable building practices.

Thanks to lessons learnt in the construction industry, the landscape construction industry is evolving. The Spring 2023 edition of Landscape News featured an interview with BALI Award winning members, Maylim, whose Exchange Square project in London (which was entirely landscape led) saw savings of 221 metric tons of carbon emissions by reusing materials on site.

More recently, the Winter 2023 edition of Landscape News covered the story of two members, Jilayne Rickards MBALI and Tecwyn Evans from Living Landscapes, who are constantly seeking new ways of reducing their carbon footprint when completing domestic projects. Recycling construction materials and reducing the use of virgin materials is hugely beneficial, and both Jilayne and Tecwyn implemented these techniques to great effect, including an award-winning garden at RHS Chelsea.

At a smaller scale, free tools are now available for members of the landscape industry, which can help stakeholders calculate the impact of their project. The Pathfinder tool, available from the Climate Positive Design website, teaches users what effect components of a design have on its carbon footprint, and how long the project will take to become carbon neutral.


The journey to carbon neutrality is a long one and few organisations – of any industry – currently have access to the technology, knowledge, or money to operate at a carbon neutral level at this stage. But over time solutions will be released to market, which have the potential to reduce carbon emissions and transform established norms.

Together with the Landscape Institute, the Association is in the process of finalising a joint briefing document on carbon in the landscape sector, due to be released during March 2024. Both organisations recognise the need for industry action, and a consistent approach that will allow us to measure and reduce the impact of schemes and works delivered by the landscape industry.

The recommendations made as part of the briefing document seek to address the barriers to change and respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

Owen Baker Technical Officer (Policy and Research)

Employment Law changes in 2024

There have been a number of changes in employment law announced in the past few months that will impact employers in 2024. To help members navigate these changes, the Association, in conjunction with HR consultancy Robinson Grace have outlined the top ten changes and what you should do to prepare for the year ahead.

1. National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2024, significant increases, and changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates apply.

For the first time, the top rate (NLW) will apply to workers aged 21 and over. Previously that rate applied to those aged 23 and over. These are the largest increases we have seen to the minimum wage. While lowest paid workers will welcome the change, they will also hit businesses at a time when the economy remains uncertain. Employers may feel a knock-on effect and wish to review the wages of those near the rate of the NMW and NLW to maintain a clear differential in their workforce between the minimum payment rates. Employers must ensure the correct minimum wage payments are made.

Not doing so risks claims from staff, paying arrears, significant penalties, and reputational damage.

2. Rolled-up holiday pay permitted for certain workers

The Government has overruled the calculation as an outcome of Harpur v Brazel for irregular and part-year workers. Legislation reinstates the principle previously used by many employers, permitting holiday pay to be calculated at the hourly rate of

12.07%. This applies to holiday years from 1 April 2024 and is subject to a maximum of 28 days each year. This will be limited only to workers with irregular hours or who work for only part of the year.


The right to request flexible working arrangements

Changes to the right to request flexible working arrangements are due to come into effect on 6 April 2024. Under a flexible working request, an eligible employee can

NMW rate Increase in pence Percentage increase National Living Wage (21 and over) £11.44 £1.02 9.8% 18-20 Year Old Rate £8.60 £1.11 14.8% 16-17 Year Old Rate £6.40 £1.12 21.2% Apprentice Rate £6.40 £1.12 21.2% Accommodation Offset £9.99 £0.89 9.8%

ask for their terms and conditions to be changed. The request could include a variety of practical solutions such as working from home, job sharing, part-time work, altered working hours, or term time working.

The key changes will include for this right to apply from day one of employment. Currently, an employee needs to have 26 weeks of continuous employment to make a flexible working request. A further change is that employees will be allowed to make two flexible working requests in each 12-month period. Currently, they are limited to one statutory request a year.

If you already have a flexible working policy in place, make sure that it is up to date when the new regime comes into effect.

4. New right to leave for carers

Currently, there is no specific right for carers to take leave. The new legislation giving effect to new rights for carers is due to come into effect on 6 April 2024.

Carers will be entitled to at least a week of unpaid leave in each year, as a day-one right. The leave can be taken by employees to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. A “dependant” for these purposes will mean a spouse/civil partner, child or parent, someone who lives in the same household as the employee (other than as a tenant or lodger) or someone who reasonably relies on the employee to provide or arrange care.

Employers should consider putting their own policies in place to address the needs of unpaid carers, taking into account the new developments in this area and training their managers to deal with such leave requests.

5. Extending redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents

From 6 April 2024, there will be extended protection from redundancy during pregnancy and for 18 months after birth or placement of a child for employees taking maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. These employees will have prioritised rights to be offered suitable, alternative employment vacancies.

The new law extends the priority already granted to those on maternity and adoption leave to now include an extended “protected period” of pregnancy along with 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth. This protected period can be amended to be 18 months from the precise date of birth if the employee gives their employer notification of this date before the end of their maternity leave. Similar protection will also be given to parents taking adoption leave for a period of 18 months from placement. For employees taking shared parental leave, the protected period will be 18 months from birth, subject to the parent having taken a period of at least six consecutive weeks of shared parental leave.

6. Paternity leave arrangements

2024 will see many changes to family-friendly entitlements, including The Paternity Leave Amendments Regulations 2024, which will apply to parents of children born or adopted on or after 6 April 2024. Currently, paternity leave can be taken in blocks of one or two weeks, it must be taken in one go within 8 weeks of the birth or adoption placement, and 15 weeks’ notice is required. The new regulations will see

the notice period reduced to 28 days/4 weeks and, will allow paternity leave to be split into two blocks of one week within the first year after the child’s birth or adoption.

7. Employers to ensure tips and service charges are allocated fairly

New legislation is expected to come into effect in May 2024 requiring employers to ensure all tips, gratuities and service charges are allocated fairly and transparently between their workers. It requires an employer to have a written policy on how it deals with tips, gratuities, and service charges. Employers will need to keep records of such payments received for three years.

It is notable that there is a 12-month limitation period for related claims to be brought by a worker (in employment law this is often three months). An employment tribunal can require an employer to review their tip allocation policy. Employers can be required by an employment tribunal to pay tips, gratuities, and service charges not just to the worker who has brought a claim for this, but also to any workers employed by the employer. Compensation of up to £5,000 per claimant can be awarded to reflect additional financial loss caused by non-payment.

8. Reduced TUPE consultation obligations for smallerscale transfers

For smaller-scale TUPE transfers occurring on or after 1 July 2024, employers will no longer be required to allow employees to elect employee representatives for the purpose of complying with obligations to



inform and consult about the transfer. This applies where there are no current employee representatives in place and to TUPE transfers in the following circumstances:

• Where an employer has less than 50 employees, irrespective of the size of the transfer

• Where the proposed transfer includes less than 10 employees, irrespective of the size of the employer

9. Predictable working patterns

A new statutory right for workers (including agency workers) to request a more predictable working pattern is due to come into effect around September 2024. It will be relevant for workers whose existing working patterns are uncertain in terms of the hours or times they work, e.g. casual workers and workers on annualised contracts, and to those on a fixed term contract of 12 months or less. The government has indicated the qualifying period for this right will be 26 weeks service, but workers will not need to have worked continuously.

The procedure to make a such request will be similar to the process of making a flexible working request. It will be in writing and can be refused on specific grounds. ACAS has launched a draft Code of Practice which addresses the handling of such requests. The Code will be taken into consideration by employment tribunals and courts in relevant cases but will not be legally binding. code-of-practice-predictable-workingpattern-2023/draft-code

10. New duty to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment

New legislation has been passed to introduce a duty for all employers to take reasonable, proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment of employees in the course of their employment. This comes into force in October 2024, applying to protect workers against unwanted conduct of a “sexual nature” and to all genders. This is not a freestanding claim, and any claims for breach of this duty may be made in the Employment

Tribunal but must be attached to a claim for sexual harassment.

Employers breaching the new duty could be subject to enforcement action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and/ or an uplift of up to 25% in any compensation awarded if a tribunal finds that an employee has been subjected to sexual harassment and the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

Employers should be introducing and updating where necessary policies and procedures dealing with harassment and supporting staff to speak up about it, along with providing relevant training to staff members.

The year ahead in 2024 is set to be eventful with key changes to employment law, with wide-reaching impact the like of which we have not seen for some time.

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Walworth Garden: Biodiversity, equity and education in the city

South of the river Thames, in innercity London sits Walworth Garden. Transformed from a derelict building site into a thriving environmental and educational charity garden, the history of this transformation is a story of involvement and engagement of all sectors of the community.

I’m here to talk with CEO and Head Gardener Oli Haden about diversity, equality and inclusion, and the lengths that Walworth Garden has taken to truly incorporate this into their culture and actions, not only within their team but also with the students they teach. However, we first take a tour of the garden, with Oli proudly explaining the different areas that have been created and maintained by the team and students, which naturally leads the conversation directly into creating natural environments and habitats for wildlife.

“We support amphibians as well as people!” jokes Oli as we wander one of the numerous wildlife ponds around the site. “We dare to challenge the norm. We promote gardening that is wildlife-centred, rather than human-centred.”

The garden is sectioned into different areas, with numerous ponds, with native and nonnative species. The garden is beautiful, but also confronting, with a ‘rubble garden’ full of detritus that would usually be removed and disposed of. “All this rubble would usually be taken to a recycling centre and ultimately landfill,” says Oli. “We have left the rubble and planted around it, which provides habitats for different wildlife. When I first looked at it, I thought ‘aesthetically, can I handle this?’, and it’s taken a bit of time to get used to. But it’s another way we challenge ‘normal’ in our industry.”

Walworth Garden is not only a teaching environment, but also an Accredited landscaping contractor. The ethos of their educational offering extends into their commercial business. “Our environmental landscaping company also works with many people who face barriers to employment. When we quote to clients, we talk about the Walworth Garden charity and the work we do with the local community and the students we focus on. We provide a professional contracting service – we are an Accredited member of BALI after all! But most people also warm to the charity work we do. It’s our USP.”

We sit in the garden, enjoying the first glorious spring sunshine and are joined by Shereen Blake, EDI Champion for Future Gardeners, a program run by Bankside Open Spaces Trust in partnership with The Worshipful Company of Gardeners, which supports unemployed people who have often faced life challenges to pursue a new career in horticulture. Offering City & Guilds Level 2 Horticulture course placements, work experience and employment skills, the program team audited their current provision to identify how to make it as accessible and supportive as possible.

Shereen: “Being from a diverse ethnic background myself, I have lived experiences of the barriers to entry into the industry and knew that for real change to occur, we had to reach out to communities and projects that are often under-represented to look for ways to work together to explore and challenge existing inequalities.”

Oli: “A key reason diversity, equity and inclusion is so important in our industry locally is that we’re among the areas most


deprived of green space in the UK, and this also correlates with the areas with the highest proportion of Black, Asian, and minoritised ethnic residents. With little access, these communities do not benefit from the wellbeing support that we know green spaces can offer, and the resulting lack of familiarity will mean that these communities are unlikely to consider careers in the sector.

With the skills gap and a progressively ageing workforce being pressing issues facing the industry, providing the right type and level of support to those wishing to have a career in landscaping is one key step in opening the industry to all.

Equality or equity?

“There is a clear distinction between equality and equity,” says Oli. “There are a lot of people that can’t start from an equal playing field. So many people will come from places where their journey is made harder. They deserve more than attempts at equal treatment - they deserve equity, and we need to use our power to facilitate that.”

The two terms are commonly interchanged with each other, but their meaning is different. Equality means an individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances and allocates the required resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

Oli clarifies “Last year, we had some students who were invited to attend an event at RHS Wisley focussed on ED&I.

They were welcome but didn’t have the means to go. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) kindly stepped up and helped, allowing them to attend and engage in the conversation. Welcoming them to the event was equality, but actively supporting their attendance was equity. Full representation at these types of events is important to ensure everyone is heard and all viewpoints are tabled and considered.”

Acknowledging our diverse qualities and understanding the specific support needed for each person is essential to enable everyone to achieve their maximum potential in their respective areas of expertise, which ultimately benefits the business, the client and the wider industry.

“It’s not our place to make decisions about what support someone might need. We need to ask them,” says Oli. “To be able to do this, we need to create a safe environment, where people feel comfortable to be open to have the conversation. At Walworth Garden, when we start our first class of the new term, the teacher introduces themselves with their names and pronouns This may be considered a small thing, but this immediately opens a safer space where sharing and using correct pronouns is the norm. It immediately establishes the space as open and accepting.”

Unconscious bias

Influenced by our cultural environment, everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups. As a minimum baseline, we all have the legal responsibility to not discriminate against the nine protected characteristics (of which race is one). But how do we get past bias when

we may not even recognise we are doing it?

“You can read someone’s name and make an unconscious judgement. This is an ingrained trait formed by our culture and handed-down histories of marginalisation. How do we change this? That’s a big question, but a good start is blind CVs, with no name, and no photo. It would purely cover a person’s skills and experience. Again, it’s a small thing, but has a potentially huge impact” says Oli.

Addressing unconscious bias involves raising awareness, fostering a culture of inclusivity, and implementing strategies to mitigate the impact of biases in decision-making processes. This may include diversity training, creating inclusive policies, and encouraging open dialogue about bias to promote understanding and positive change. “We are lucky to have a non-binary employee who is exceptionally generous with us because they recognise we are not all familiar with this, ” says Oli. “They are prepared to take the time to talk to us - to educate us, which is not their role, but helps develop an understanding.”

For many people, including myself, there is an open acceptance of other people’s beliefs and choices, but also a fear of offending, or ‘getting it wrong’. In previous interviews, all have highlighted the requirement for courage in having conversations we may not feel comfortable having, to start developing a greater understanding of what we don’t know.

Adapting processes

Future Gardeners and Walworth Garden have both reviewed and refined their selection and interview process for new students. At Walworth Garden, one of the core questions prospective students are asked is ‘what level of education did your parents receive?’. “This helps us identify those who are first-generation mainstream educated, which provides an additional identifier - an opportunity to offer equitable access. Those of us who are the first in our families able to explore further education are breaking down barriers, and stepping into environments where we don’t have the luxury of historical welcomes. Knowing this about our applicants allows us to better support them.

Shereen adds “At Future Gardeners, we changed our processes to provide the interview questions to students before the interview, to give additional process and preparation time. We focused on making the interview a ‘safe space’ allowing interviewees the opportunity to share any additional needs or support requirements which meant we were able to make any adaptations to the course needed to increase the likelihood of the success of the student.”



Both examples are ways of helping students feel a level of confidence that may not come naturally - something many of us take for granted when faced with new situations. This support continues for both organisations during their education.

At Walworth Garden, as well as support from the teachers, the student body combines those who are of different identities and backgrounds. Some students bring confidence, others knowledge. But all are encouraged to support each other throughout the course, and into work. This is their first industry network.


Walworth Garden and Future Gardeners are both London-based, and therefore local to the student profiles they aim to encourage into the industry. How can we encourage those from an inner city or from more deprived backgrounds into our industry, and offer access to qualifications when there are so few training centres within the cities themselves?

“Funding is the only solution - at least to begin with,” says Oli. “There are also so many hidden costs that are never considered. For example, if students or apprentices are offered an away day training or work experience, who pays for this? Who covers

the lost day of salary they can’t afford to lose? When we work with funders, we often ask if they would like to offer work experience, to help get students ready for work. But who pays for this? Many of our funders will, but unfortunately, others won’t. Sadly, we don’t have the financial freedom to support our students as we would like.”

Despite this challenge, in 2023, 90% of Walworth Garden’s students found employment following graduation. Recent students have gone on to employment at the prestigious Palm Centre in Richmond, Tresco Abbey Gardens, the RHS, and at the English Heritage site Audley End through the prominent Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme (HBGTP).

On average, 76% of the graduates go on to employment or further study with Future Gardener graduates being found across the horticulture industry. Many have achieved apprenticeships or traineeships with prestigious gardens including Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, Fulham Palace, Morden Hall National Trust, Chelsea Physic Garden, and the Royal Parks such as Greenwich and Kensington Palace. Many go on to employment with landscaping companies across London or have pursued further study such as the

highly competitive Kew Diploma or RHS qualifications. Since setting purposeful EDI targets, Future Gardeners has also seen improved student retention (currently at 93%), and through that diversified provision, even higher student satisfaction levels.

Walworth Garden and Future Gardeners are two organisations focused on building the knowledge and skills needed to work within the gardening and landscaping industry. Both focus their efforts on those people who need extra support and patience to build the courage to succeed - those people who have been historically excluded.

With our industry’s growing focus on equity, diversity and inclusion as one way to encourage new entrants and start closing the skills gap, both organisations can offer great lessons for us all.

Oli concludes: “There's a lot of work to do, but I do feel excited by it. The fact that we're talking about the issues and steps we can take to resolve these is positive.”

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RHS Chelsea 2024 preview

This year, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show is expected to deliver another exceptional show, with sustainability taking centre stage. The marriage of garden displays and environmental consciousness not only beautifies green spaces but aims to propel a vital dialogue about our collective responsibility to address societal issues.

Numerous BALI Accredited Contractors are again taking on the challenge of bringing the designer’s concepts to life. Not only building sustainably, but also sowing key messages into each garden, and ultimately inspiring the industry and general public alike.

Landscape News caught up with four Accredited Contractors working on RHS Chelsea Gardens this year – Atlantes Landscaping, Landesigns, Living Landscapes, and Stewart Landscapes – to find out more about the gardens they are building, the continuing focus on sustainability, and the blending of the garden design to represent the support of the charity.

Charity awareness and alignment

The majority of gardens built at the show focus on the work of a charity. Project Giving Back was born out of the pandemic with a focus on supporting charitable causes whose work had suffered during Covid-19, and continues

to be affected by the economic downturn and the cost of living crisis. The scheme gives UK-based charities and other charitable organisations the chance to apply for a fullyfunded garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, a unique opportunity for charities to raise awareness of and support for their work.

Nine gardens being built by Accredited members are sponsored by Project Giving Back. Each garden aims to inspire visitors, providing a place of solace and familiarity. Often these gardens do much more than raise awareness, they also provide national coverage, public engagement, new partnerships, and patrons for the charities.

The Freedom from Torture Garden: A Sanctuary for Survivors is supported by Project Giving Back. Tecwyn Evans, Director at Living Landscapes highlights the benefits for charities to be represented at RHS Chelsea. “Although born in the car park of the charity Amnesty, the work of Freedom From Torture is lesser known to the general public. RHS Chelsea provides the perfect platform to increase brand awareness, showcase their life-changing work and garner onward support from both public and corporate partners. With horticultural therapy being at the heart of their survivor programmes for nearly 30 years, the garden will be emblematic of the power of nature in aiding this road to recovery.”

In addition to profile raising, the charity gardens are also designed to provide a snapshot of the work and support the charity undertakes. Ben Wiggins, Director of Landesigns said “Garden Designer Giulio Giorgi and World Child Cancer UK had a common vision of what a garden for children who are undergoing cancer treatment should be – one that reflected the needs of the communities they support in low and middle-income countries. The garden has been designed as an immersive experience with sustainable design features that can support the emotional well-being of children undergoing cancer treatment by providing a place of solace and joy.”

Similarly, St James’ Piccadilly, Imagine the World to be Different, being built by Stewart Landscapes, the garden design focuses on the support provided by the outdoor spaces. Managing Director Mark Richardson explains, “The St. James's Garden design explores themes of gathering, sanctuary, and the significance of restorative green spaces within urban environments. St. James's is a beacon of inclusivity and creativity, welcoming all individuals. Their extensive social outreach and environmental initiatives are so profoundly influential. Approximately 400,000 individuals seek solace and inspiration each year within the church, courtyard, and garden spaces.”

The Freedom from Torture Garden; A Sanctuary for Survivors, Sanctuary Garden © John Warland and Emma O'Connell


Garden designers and contractors play a key role in shaping the future of landscaping. The issues brought about by climate change have inspired a surge of creativity, prompting these experts to create designs that are more environmentally friendly. Additionally, the implementation of the Biodiversity Net Gain legislation, introduced earlier this year, signifies a larger dedication to making urban areas more eco-friendly. This move towards sustainability isn't limited to policy changes; it is evident in the actual plans for gardens this year.

All those involved in the design and build of gardens at RHS shows are now challenged to be more environmentally conscious in their design decisions and build actions. Waste management plans must be provided, including the reuse of plants and hard materials from exhibits. In addition, there is a focus on reducing the use of cementbased concrete, virgin timber plastics and virgin metals, with exhibitors encouraged to look at reused or recycled alternatives.

Eliminating the use of concrete, and local sourcing of materials to minimise the environmental footprint and support local economies is a theme through all the gardens, as is the use of recycled materials.

According to Tecwyn, the biggest challenge when considering the carbon footprint of the garden lies with the structural elements, which include perimeter walls, retained sunken excavations and the securing of the willow waves. “Reusable ground screws omit the requirement for any poured concrete foundations, and the use of natural clay render on wood wool boards reduces waste on the stud wall construction.”

The World Child Cancer’s Nurturing Garden is being built with 100% recyclable, lowcarbon materials. Ben explains, “the blocks used to create the raised planters interlock just like Lego, meaning no cement, metals or glue are used. Using drought-resistant plants allows us to showcase alternative watering methods through terracotta.”

Paul Bentley, Managing Director of Altantes Landscapes, on building the Bowel Research UK Microbiome Garden “Chris Hull and Sid Hill have prioritised environmental consciousness, utilising native plants and locally sourced materials to minimise the ecological footprint. We are using sustainably grown, local timber to replace using cement, which is also lightweight, further reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation.”

Mark is excited to be working with Robert Myers, who has drawn up sustainable

masterplans for Exeter, Hereford and Southwark Cathedrals, as well as Trinity College in Cambridge. “At the heart of the sustainable approach lies the material selection, including Strocks – structural blocks made of clay-rich earth and straw, recycled semi-permeable paving and sustainable drainage solutions.”

These sustainable approaches also need to take into account the repurposing of the garden after the show. “In essence, The Freedom from Torture Garden is ‘stopping off’ at RHS Chelsea on its way to its final location at the Freedom From Torture HQ in Finsbury Park,” says Tecwyn. “This means there is a fine balance between creating an authentic display and being responsible in terms of materials and labour at the show.”

Ben echo’s the transient considerations, “The World Child Cancer’s Nurturing Garden has been designed as a pilot project to show how to build a sustainable temporary garden that can be moved and rebuilt over and over with simple materials. This relocation has given us the chance to experiment

with testing different ideas of how a garden could be designed and built in a simpler, more sustainable way, with a focus on minimal waste, breakage and manpower.”

Paul, along with designers Chris and Sid had identified this challenge at the start of the design process, “To tackle the challenge of constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing the garden, we scrutinised the design to ensure all components have been designed to fit this purpose.”

The creation of a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is not only a great honour, but a great challenge. With the increased environmental considerations for all elements of the design, the build materials and approach, plus the additional requirement to ensure the garden is repurposed at the conclusion of the show, all while maintaining the highest levels of quality and detail. The Association is excited to see the final gardens at the show and celebrate with our members.


BALI Accreditation stand out in a sea

of choices

In a world inundated with products and services, consumers often find themselves navigating a sea of choices. Whether it's selecting a university, choosing a healthcare provider, or purchasing a product online, individuals are constantly making decisions that can significantly impact their lives. In this complex landscape, accreditation logos can emerge as a beacon of trust and quality assurance, guiding consumers toward reliable choices.

The British Association of Landscape Industries accreditation is a process through which members undergo rigorous evaluation to ensure they meet predefined standards of quality, safety, and competence. The accredited logo, a visual representation of this approval, serves as a powerful tool for both consumers and businesses alike.

One of the primary reasons why accreditation logos are crucial lies in the establishment of trust. When consumers encounter an accredited institution or product, the logo acts as a stamp of approval, signalling that the entity has met specific standards and adheres to best practices. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, and in the consumer-business dynamic, it is a critical factor influencing purchasing decisions.

Proudly displaying the Association’s accredited logo communicates to consumers that your company operates with integrity

and meets industry standards. This can be a crucial factor in gaining a competitive edge in the market and attracting a discerning consumer base that values quality.

Beyond establishing initial trust, the Association’s accredited logo also serves as a tool for quality assurance. The quality standards review that contractor members undergo to maintain accreditation ensures that they continuously strive for improvement and adhere to the latest industry standards. The accreditation logo is not just a static emblem; it is a dynamic symbol representing an ongoing commitment to excellence and adherence to best practices.

And remember, BALI Accreditation can also increase your new business opportunities, with many companies actively seeking out businesses with accreditation to work with, as well as being a requirement of many commercial tenders. Being an accredited member of BALI provides you access to the member community, enabling collaboration, knowledge sharing, and potential partnerships. Why would you not want to promote this out to the industry?

The importance of using the accredited logo cannot be overstated in today's intricate consumer landscape. These logos act as a powerful indicator of trust and quality assurance, guiding individuals toward reliable choices. As consumers become increasingly

discerning, the presence of an accreditation logo can be the deciding factor that sets a business apart from the competition. By embracing the Association’s accreditation and proudly displaying the logo, members not only enhance their credibility but also contribute to a marketplace built on trust, transparency, and a shared commitment to excellence.

We urge you to review your company’s website, marketing literature, fleet of vehicles and social media platforms to ensure you are not only displaying the accredited logo but that it is also the most up-to-date version. A copy of the logo can be found in your myBALI area of the website, along with the brand guidelines, or you can contact the membership team directly at


We need your support

We’re making progress, but together, our voice could be louder.

Join our Ambassador programme and help inspire, encourage and support the next generation of landscapers.

For more information please contact us at the email below, or scan the QR code to complete an expression of interest. #Landscapingcareers

Careers advice: one size doesn’t fit all

Since its inception, GoLandscape has sought to provide information to inspire young people and career changers to consider the landscaping industry as an attractive, worthwhile, and rewarding career option. The initiative has done this in several ways, not least through our dedicated careers and education website - - which has established itself as one of the ‘go-to’ resources for information on the varied and exciting career opportunities in the landscaping sector. We also want to help those advising young people to have a better understanding of the industry, so that they are able to knowledgeably discuss the varied options.

GoLandscape could not have achieved what it has over the last seven years without the support of the Association and its members. GoLandscape Ambassadors have been vital in spreading the positive message about our industry to schools, colleges, and other skills and careers events.

We have done this in many ways over the last year. We have provided information on the GoLandscape website, attended national and regional skills and careers events,

provided articles for Landscape News, and worked with other organisations to promote the sector.

With the new Skills and Careers team in place at Landscape House, we are beginning to look at how we can build on this success, and how we can work with our Ambassador network to get the industry message into schools and colleges.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to how careers information, advice and guidance are delivered and, almost inevitably, the approach differs across the devolved nations of the UK.

In Scotland, the service is provided by the Skills Development Service which works in partnership with every secondary school, as well as providing a network of high street centres where advisers where anyone can access careers advice and guidance. One of the key aims of the Scottish system is to help young people, and anyone else accessing the system, to develop better careers management skills through a coaching approach to careers guidance.

In Wales, Careers Wales (Gyrfa Cymru) offers advice on employment, apprenticeships and training opportunities. It is also provides a resource helping young people prepare for work or for finding the right training and apprenticeship.

In Northern Ireland, an integrated careers service has been introduced based on a skills strategy developed by the OECD, with a focus on reducing skills imbalances, creating a culture of lifelong learning, transforming the workplace and improving governance over skills policies. The work of the careers service is guided by a Careers Advisory Forum made up of representatives from industry, government, youth services, and the education sector.

In England, careers guidance policy and practice have been influenced strongly by a report commissioned in 2014 by the Gatsby Foundation. The report, written by Professor Sir John Holman, titled “Good Career Guidance” attempted to identify the things that schools were doing to establish effective and successful careers advice programmes and to use this to draw up guidance that would help all schools deliver highly effective and engaging careers advice.


The resulting eight benchmarks that were set out in that report (now commonly referred to as the Gatsby Benchmarks) have become the standard to which schools in England aspire in delivering careers guidance. Research undertaken in the four years after the publication of the report found that the schools that had adopted the benchmarks reported a significant improvement in the career readiness of their pupils and an improvement in GCSE results.

The Benchmarks have been adopted as national policy in England and schools are using them to help guide and develop the careers advice and guidance for their pupils.

Of particular interest to GoLandscape, and to BALI as an employers’ organisation, are Benchmarks 5 and 6 which stress the importance of encounters with employers and employees and the need for schoolchildren to have experiences of workplaces. If these are implemented correctly, both benchmarks give employers a real opportunity to engage with local schools and promote careers in their sector.

In addition to setting the benchmarks, the report also set out “what good looks like”. For benchmark 5 the guidance suggests that every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about the type of work they do, what their workplaces are like and what skills they should bring to the workplace. These

“enrichment” opportunities can take many routes and can include activities such as speaking in schools and colleges, mentoring activities or helping schools and colleges with enterprise schemes; all activities that have been undertaken by employers in our GoLandscape Ambassador network.

Benchmark 6 recommends that schools find opportunities for their pupils to have first hand experiences of the workplace - be that through work placements, job shadowing or work experience. These should help young people to explore their career opportunities and give them a better understanding of the workplace.

Schools in England are supported by the Careers and Enterprise Company which is the national body in England, helping schools and colleges deliver careers education.

The Careers and Enterprise Company has also established Careers Hubs. These hubs are local networks that link businesses, employers and apprenticeship providers with schools and colleges in their area. Over the last year, GoLandscape has made some exciting links with skills hubs in East London, Worcestershire and Surrey which is leading to more opportunities for us to engage directly with schools and young people and tell them about the breadth and range of careers in the landscaping industry.

We will continue to make more connections, but one of the main things of value we

bring to the Skills Hubs networks is the links to local employers spearheaded by our GoLandscape Ambassadors.

Despite the differing approaches to careers guidance in the four nations, one thing that is consistent is the importance that all the strategies place on engagement with employers and businesses as the best way to give young people experiences of the workplace and to widen their outlook when it comes to career choices.

GoLandscape’s stated aims are to improve knowledge and understanding of the landscaping industry, and to encourage more young people to consider training and a career in our sector as their next step after school. Part of that activity will involve engagement with the careers advice activities in schools and colleges in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. GoLandscape will be at the National Careers Advisers event in Leeds in spring 2024 as part of our renewed efforts to meet and advise Careers Advisers and other people providing young people with information on their future career path.

We know that many of you reading this will be keen to get involved and want to engage more effectively with schools and colleges in your region but are not sure where to start on the journey. Why not think about joining our Ambassador network as your first step? We will train you, provide resources and support you so you can present your story and promote our great industry to schools, colleges, parents, and careers advisers in your region. Our links with other industry partners may also give you more chances to share your story as we hope that GoLandscape’s involvement in a growing number of skills networks will lead to more invitations to schools, colleges, and skills events where they need employer representation.

If you’re interested please scan the QR code below or just drop us an email at We will be delighted to hear from you.


A look at what’s to come

Confirmed dates for industry shows and events in 2024.

Correct at time of print. For the most up-to-date listings visit

11 April

18 - 21 April

16 May

21 - 25 May

13 June

2 – 7 July

17 – 21 July

Regional event: South West Social, Bristol

RHS Urban Show, Manchester

Regional event: South West Social, Taunton

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Regional event: South West Social, Bath

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

10 – 11 September Trade show: GroundsFest

15 - 16 October Trade show: FutureScape London

30 – 31 October Trade show: SALTEX

New, digital resource for carers within the horticultural community from Perennial

Those responsible for caring for someone else within the horticultural community can now access a free online tool through the charity Perennial, to help them manage caring responsibilities effectively and give them peace of mind.

Personalised support and information, hands-on guides and useful tools are

available to everyone working with plants, trees, flowers or grass who is looking after someone who can't look after themselves.

Clare Downs, Perennial’s Head of Preventative Services says: “We’ve teamed up with Carers UK to offer a supportive resource that provides practical, emotional and financial information to people working in horticulture and their families who are caring for others. Looking after someone who can't look after themselves can impact your health, your job, your finances and your social life. We hope this specialist tool will help carers within our community to build networks of support, find information relevant to their needs, stay resilient themselves and manage the care they give more effectively.”

Having the right information at the right time can make a huge difference to both carers and the person they look after. Carers can create an account to access and combine Carers UK products and resources with their own care support information.

The Carers UK Digital Resource includes a care co-ordination app called Jointly,

that helps those responsible to set up a ‘circle of care’ around the person they care for, so everyone is kept in the loop and important information is centrally shared. There’s also ‘how to’ guides and resources covering key topics such as health and wellbeing, technology and work. As well as five ‘About Me’ e-learning courses on building emotional resilience and finding support, and a guide to caring which gives tailored advice. Plus, a Financial Planning tool to help manage the costs associated with caring.

To access the free resource, go to and create a personal account using Perennial’s special free access code DGTL2211

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