Shadow water minister meets landscape and turf bodies to discuss hosepipe ban

Shadow water minister Gavin Shuker MP has criticised the Government for not reforming water legislation while meeting landscape and turf industry representatives.

Gavin Shuker MP - image: East of England Labour Party
Gavin Shuker MP - image: East of England Labour Party

Shuker met the Association of Professional Landscapers and Turfgrass Growers Association at Ayletts Nursery in Hertfordshire on 4 April.

Shuker said:

"The hosepipe ban and water restrictions are further bad news for households worried about the weather. We have seen the driest twelve months on record and drought conditions will become more common in future.

"Lack of water could mean food prices go up, wildlife will suffer and, in the worst case, construction and energy industries affected. The Government needs to stop dragging its feet and legislate for the long awaited reforms we need."

 

Shuker also spoke to Association of Professional Landscapers chairman Mark Gregory, who said: "The landscaping industry, which employs more people than agriculture, is being unfairly penalised by this ban and is set to be severely impacted as a result. Why is it that car washes can continue to operate and cement mixers can be filled by a hosepipe but landscapers cannot use hosepipes in their work? Somewhat ironic given that plants and turf help to retain moisture in our landscapes."

Turfgrass Growers Association chairman Hugh Dampney said he wanted water companies to follow the lead of Sutton and East Surrey Water Company who are allowing a 28 day exemption for newly laid turf.

He said:

"The water industry’s own Code of Practice on water restrictions suggests concessions for newly laid turf and plants. It is down to the water companies to follow this through so that the turf industry can continue to operate. Turf makes a major net contribution to water supplies and aids water retention by allowing the percolation of rain through the soil to replenish the aquifers."

Aylett Nurseries director Adam Wigglesworth said:

"We are providing our customers with advice as to how they can garden in a water-efficient and environmentally friendly way. It is a major step forward that gardeners are able to use drip irrigation, rather than the blanket hosepipe bans of the past, and there are numerous other water efficient products available that will help the nation keep gardening."

The HTA, BALI and TGA will meet with water companies on 10 April to discuss what measures can be taken to mitigate the negative impacts of hosepipe bans for the landscape industry.

TV coverage from BBC Look East and ITV Anglia, of Shuker’s visit to Aylett Nurseries with Adam Wigglesworth, Mark Gregory and Hugh Dampney, can be viewed at:

BBC Look East 4/4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01f8bcc/Look_East_East_04_04_2012/

ITV Anglia 4/4:  http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2012-04-04/watch-wednesdays-anglia-tonight/

Caroline Owen from Scotsdales Garden Centre also talks about the increase in sales of water butts.


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