Gardening business granted hosepipe ban holiday
Gardening, landscaping and turf businesses in the south east have been offered a short-term respite from the hosepipe ban to help them maintain their businesses.
Thames Water said it introduced the exemption last week in recognition of the difficulty the ban had placed on businesses reliant on hosepipe use, and after two and a half times the average rainfall in April helped reduce the severity of region's water shortages.
As a result, gardening, landscaping and turf companies will be allowed to use hosepipes to water newly laid turf and plants for up to 28 days - commencing May 21.
This has seen a Codes of Practice agreed with the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) and other landscape trade bodies to ensure that the minimum amount of water is used.
Thames Water 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."
However, Thames Water confirmed that the hosepipe ban will remain in force for its remaining customers as it continues to monitor the drought situation, and said that the ban can't be lifted until groundwater levels recover.
HTA and APL director of business development Tim Briercliffe welcomed the decision, saying the ban had left its members facing serious business challenges and potential job losses.
He said: "Our members fully support the need for water efficiency and will do all they can to carry out water efficient practices, such as the use of drip watering systems, and to promote these to their customers."
TGA chief executive Tim Mudge added: "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."