Landscapers band together to stand up for the industry

A group of landscape member organisations is moving closer to establishing a pan-landscape group with a draft strategy drawn up around three main aims.

The strategy, written and put to group members over the past fortnight, proposes a way forward for joint working on marketing, education and policy.

The move follows a Landscape Collaborative Working Group (LCWG) meeting at Merrist Wood College in February and a working group gathering in March. Discussion topics included effective Government lobbying, industry training, a biosecurity working group within the LCWG and a campaign such as "greening the city" from which all sectors would benefit.

LCWG champion Paul Cowell of PC Landscapes, a member of three organisations in the group, said there is "a willingness to work together but there needs to be action". He added: "We need to invest in ourselves as an industry. We might need to do some research and we may need to come together on specific subjects."

Business practices are another issue that could be tackled. A suggestion that there should be a landscape industry-wide code of conduct at a recent meeting held at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, provoked a spontaneous round of applause.

Cowell said: "Every organisation has its own code of conduct and they vary. They should be aiming for the same thing. The organisations need to work together."

He added: "I've come across garden designers who are marketing themselves as landscape architects who don't know the first thing about landscape architecture. We've lost projects to people who haven't had any formal training whatsoever. Some clients have no idea what we do at all."

Joint working Previous work and success

The idea of working together is not a new one. The Joint Council for Landscape Industries sat between 1973 and 2004, when it became the Joint Committee for Landscape Industries (JCLI).

It was dissolved in 2010 with only a small part of its remit remaining in the form of JCLI contracts, which are drawn up by member organisations of the JCLI Contracts Forum.

More recently, the industry came together to battle the hosepipe ban in spring 2012, securing an exemption - after 28 days of the ban - for newly laid turf and installations.


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