Horticulture Week Podcast: how to thrive while tackling the twin threats of ecological crisis and the skills shortage with Jon Grantham of LUC

LUC managing director Jon Grantham is clear about the two biggest challenges facing his firm. "We need more people with the right skills" he says adding the skills shortage is a huge challenge for LUC and most horticultural businesses. But the second and "overriding priority" is "the role we play in tackling the climate and ecological crisis". Grantham outlines LUC's strategy on both of these in this podcast episode.

LUC is a planning, impact assessment, landscape design, ecology and geospacial consultancy and has had a successful year financially, which Grantham puts down to the quality of its employees and the results of it becoming an Employee Ownership Trust, which was expanded to include all LUC's employees in 2020. Diversification of services has also given the firm a broad base upon which to build, he says.

Discussing some of the biggest projects LUC has been working on this year, Jon Grantham highlights the award winning Clay Pits project in Glasgowas well as LUC’s role as lead masterplanners on the expansion of The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in Wimbledon.

Another significant project on LUC’s books is the All-England Strategic Landscape Mapping Assessment commissioned by Natural England. LUC’s GIS and visualisation team along with landscape planners are leading on this project, which will look at “Whether we should be designating new nationally significant landscapes, but expanding criteria for doing that to bring in more social and economic considerations alongside environmental considerations.” While it’s still in its early stages, Grantham explains exactly what they hope will come from this work.

Grantham touches upon how Covid is still affecting the business, but for the better, resulting in an optimum balance between work and life which LUC believes is crucial to productivity. He goes on to explain how it has also influenced projects with everyone thinking more locally and acknowledging the important connection between health and well-being and open green space and the need to extend access to "hard to reach groups".

But "Environment is a key client" says Grantham, and as well as advising and guiding others, LUC is looking at what it can do in the wake of the climate and ecological crisis, with Grantham noting “we can’t be going around preaching to others that they should do it if we’re not doing it ourselves.”

Presenter: HortWeek senior reporter Rachael Forsyth
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with HortWeek, contact hortweek@haymarket.com.

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