Planned work is delayed by gritting and snow clearance

Grounds maintenance and landscaping firms have found their work schedule disrupted by demand for snow clearance and gritting, potentially causing problems for projects with deadlines.

In Lancashire, Barton Grange Landscapes staff have been gritting for 24 hours a day, said managing director Peter Topping.

Instead of the usual two staff carrying out the work, 20 have been working around the clock on snow clearance and gritting.

The big issue, said Topping, is that other work is having to be put on hold, creating a backlog.

"Last week we couldn't do any normal landscaping and there will be a lot of work coming through in the spring, particularly on play areas, so we'll have less time, which causes problems. We will have to take on extra staff to get projects completed by deadline."

British Association of Landscape Industries chairman and Norris & Gardiner managing director Richard Gardiner told HW that everything was "topsy turvey".

"Why is it that people don't want salt when you ask them in July but it's our fault they haven't got any now?" he asked. "Some contractors are stacked out with good work and are currently frustrated that they can't get on with it due to the weather."

Glendale has been forced to put extra staff on gritting duties, as well as having problems sourcing grit. In addition, planting has not been able to go ahead on some landscape sites.

"Due to the national limitations on supply, sourcing grit has been an issue. However, we are still able to obtain materials," said a representative. "Many landscaping sites have been closed since before Christmas but we are optimistic they will be opened this week and planting will be able to continue."

Gavin Jones director of business development Yvette Etcell told HW that landscaping work had "ground to a halt".

Landform Consultants managing director Mark Gregory said the industry was "generally resilient" to the weather.

"You shouldn't be surprised by snow in January," he insisted. "But a prolonged spell of wintry weather, with no money coming in and no loans on offer from the bank will tip some companies over the edge."

 

See the Horticulture Week picture gallery for winter scenes from across the country.


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