I would firstly today like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a happy new year. We must all hope that 2023 will be a better year for all in terms of economic growth and prosperity. And let us hope there may be a ceasefire and an end to this dreadful war in the Ukraine.
As for me I am looking forward to another year promoting our diverse horticulture and sports turf industry.
I'm also pleased to report that there are some exciting new developments here at TurfPro. As part of our championing of the sector, we will be including some new features that you’ll be able to read and enjoy throughout the year.
These will begin next week with a regular monthly feature article penned by the recent head of the Amenty Forum, Professor John Moverley, who will be taking a comprehensive look at the incredibly important issues of sustainability and how they are affecting and driving our ways of working.
Professor John Moverley
Called Sustainability Focus, we are delighted to have this regular feature sponsored by Envu - a new company founded in 2022, built on years of Bayer experience, for the sole purpose of advancing healthy environments.
Phil Logan, national account manager UK & Ireland at Envu said, "At ENVU we are committed to helping our customers achieve sustainable high quality turf surfaces . We are delighted to be supporting Professor Moverley's column in TurfPro. We look forward to reading what he has to say on this incredibly important topic each month."
We thank Envu for their support and, like them, I am also keen to discover what wisdom John will impart on this fascinating and vital subject throughout the course of 2023.
Also new for TurfPro in 2023 will be a Guest Editor slot we’re launching for magazine. This will feature a plethora of leading turf professional figures from across all areas of the industry, taking over the reins from myself once a month. These guest editors will be talking about their own experiences and sharing their thoughts on what issues are impacting on their working lives in the current climate. The first of these will commence the week of BTME this month and it's highly respected figure, known throughout the sector, who will be kicking this feature off for us.
Although we are only an online magazine, I do think this can be an advantage in that being published every week means we are able to bring you the most up to date news and issues affecting our industry.
And to start the turf care year in earnest, myself and a few of my TurfPro colleagues will be decamping to Harrogate to attend BIGGA’s BTME on the 24th -26th January, with the aim of catching up with as many people as we can. Hope to see you there.
Plastic not fantastic
As for recent news that has caught my eye since we’ve been on the Christmas break, I read with interest in the Telegraph that the Communities Secretary is moving to ban artificial lawns in housing developments as part of a war on plastic. The report states that Michael Gove’s proposals mean that local authorities will be able to block housebuilders from laying fake grass.
The plans, as also reported in The Sunday Times, are part of Mr Gove’s consultation on an updated version of the National Planning Policy Framework, which is used by councils when determining planning applications and producing local plans.
I myself am not a fan of plastic lawns in domestic gardens as they bring with them plenty of environmental issues. As mentioned in the article, their impact on our wildlife and habitats is extreme. With so many people ripping up their front gardens and replacing them with plastic grass or gravel we are definitely seeing a decline in local wildlife populations. For example hedgehog populations are in decline, along with the loss many butterfly and beneficial insects.
Also, creating more hardstanding and less receptive surface areas for rain water to drain away, increases the risk of flash flooding.
By removing hedges and front gardens we are losing our once vibrant urban habitat that brings together so many benefits for us all. The mere fact we are removing hedges and trees from our doorstep, only increases noise and pollution within our own living space.
We must not underestimate the true value of our urban landscape. It not only enriches our lives, but provides an important environment for not only us and our children, but for many thousands of birds, mammals and insects.
If we do not take full care and attention, these sights and sounds will be long gone. It time for us to take stock of our lifestyles and perhaps think more about of what is around us and its real values.