Published on 23 - May - 2012
Hosepipe ban suspended for SE gardening businessesRecord rainfall during April and May means landscaping, turf and gardening businesses in the South and East of England are now exempt from the hosepipe ban for up to 28 days.
It's back to business as usual for gardening companies in the Thames region
The adjustment to the Temporary Use Bans imposed by all seven water companies means gardening businesses can use hosepipes to water newly laid turf and plants for up to 28 days. It comes on the back of one of the rainiest Springs the country has ever seen, with two-and-a-half-times the normal amount of rainfall in April.
The water companies - Anglian Water, Thames Water, Southern Water, South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast - have reminded their domestic customers that all other bans remain in place.
Thames Water's sustainability director Richard Aylard said: "Our restrictions have caused real difficulties for some gardening businesses, so we are relieved to be in a position to take this step, which will enable them to carry on designing, landscaping, maintaining and building new features and gardens, while safeguarding their livelihoods and those of their employees.
"From today they will be able to water where necessary to get new gardens, lawns and plants established, and their clients will be able to continue this for up to 28 days."
It will come as a relief to the 74% of respondents to a DIYWeek.net poll who said they thought the ban would "negatively impact garden centre trade" back in March. Also breathing a sigh of relief is the Turf Growers Association, whose chief executive Tim Mudge said: "We're pleased that the water companies have recognised the important role turf plays in helping replenish our water supplies.
"The turf industry has already been hit hard by the hosepipe ban, with our members reporting a number of redundancies and reductions in sales of up to 60%.
"We hope the exemption will improve the situation as people begin to buy and lay turf again. Working alongside water companies and other trade bodies, we will continue to advocate the responsible use of water in the garden."
Another body which celebrated the move was the Horticultural Trades Association. Business development director Tim Briercliffe spoke of the "serious business challenges" which many HTA members had been facing due to the drought, which he said had been "likely to get worse with lost contracts and job losses." He added: "Much of this can now be averted thanks to this decision."
There was still a lingering word of warning from the government, however, with environment secretary Caroline Spelman commenting: "Water levels in London and the South East are still low because of two dry winters in a row, and it's important that we all continue to use water wisely."
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