Lord Heseltine hailed as pioneer of environmental regeneration at Groundwork conference

Lord Heseltine was hailed for his pioneering role in establishing environmental regeneration as a national force at a conference for green-space professionals this week.

Groundwork, which hosted a major conference for 250 professionals in Manchester to celebrate its 30th anniversary, looked at who and what turned a fringe activity into the multibillion-pound mainstream business of today.

Lord Heseltine’s contribution was revisited on the same day 30 years later that he published a report on growth, which echoes his campaigns in the 1980s for devolving power to revitalise and reinvigorate industrial cities.

Speakers said key turning points then were the Brixton and Toxteth riots of 1981 bookended by the Aberfan disaster of 1966 and the collapse of coal mining in the mid to late 1980s.

Manchester University emeritus professor John Hadley singled out Lord Heseltine, the founder of Horticulture Week publisher Haymarket, for three key landmarks: Liverpool International Garden Festival, Mersey Basin Campaign and "Operation Groundwork" to set up five northern trusts, which led to the forming of Groundwork.

"Some people criticised him but I have sympathy; he understood the transformative power of positive change through landscape. The work changed the way people felt about themselves and their landscapes at a time of mass unemployment and deindustrialisation."

Environmentalist Chris Baines said the origins of Groundwork were borne of the riots of 1981. Heseltine’s "response was to counter the aggression of those times by helping to promote and create gentle landscapes."

Groundwork had three things to offer, said Baines: a long track record; integrity on delivery based on research and monitoring; and an "extraordinary alumnus, which is the sleeping giant of accumulative wisdom".

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Be wary of unscrupulous clients who may look for loopholes to avoid settling up at the end of a job, Alan Sargent warns.

Living walls

Living walls

The benefits of green walls make them worth investigation by all green-space professionals, says Miranda Kimberley.

Business planning - improving productivity through training

Business planning - improving productivity through training

How to create a structured training programme for your staff to give your business a competitive edge, by Neville Stein.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BALI National Landscape Awards 2017

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

-Download the Digital Edition

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer