Friday, 12 December 2014

The price of newt fencing - it's coming down

Unusually in business there is actually a service where prices are falling. The cost of newt fencing has dropped by around 20% in the last 3 years as competition in the market has increased and materials have become cheaper.

People, Ponds and Water Project

Pond protection in England and Wales is to get a welcome level of support after a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) totalling £1,344,500 to conduct the UK’s largest and most ambitious freshwater monitoring and protection project to date: the ’People, Ponds and Water Project’. The three year project will train thousands of volunteers across the country as ‘citizen scientists’

Diffuse pollution by agriculture

The UK Government has produced a briefing paper on the diffuse pollution of water by agriculture and has summarized measures that have the potential to reduce the effects on waterbodies by agricultural activities.  This can be found here:

In summary: ‘Surface, coastal and ground waters in England suffer from significant pollution problems: 78% of surface and groundwater bodies fail to meet the ‘good’ ecological status prescribed by the EU Water Frameworks Directive. Pollution increases water treatment costs and adversely affects wildlife. Compared to treatment, preventing water pollution at source can have a cost-benefit ratio as high as 1:65.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

CABI releases rust fungus to control invasive Himalayan balsam

Himalayan Balsam (image courtesy of CABI)
Himalayan Balsam Rust fungus released
Himalayan Balsam is the bane of many a river managers life, with often the only effective treatment being hand pulling over a number of years.  Now a new agent is possibly coming to the rescue of reducing the impact of this pernicious non-native in the form of a fungus that is host specific.
On the 23 July 2014, the Himalayan balsam rust was approved for release by Defra Ministers making this the first fungal biological control agent to be released against a weed in the European Union.  The release was co-ordinated by CABI under licence from Natural England

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Biggest coastal flood management scheme completed

Sunrise 8th September 2014 & the high tide enters the newly
created Steart Marshes -
image from The Environment Agency website
JPR Environmental was involved in the UK's biggest coastal realignment scheme to date - a joint project between the Environment Agency and The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Steart Marshes on the Severn Estuary.

The Marshes are important in protecting the surrounding land - this is from the Environment Agency's website:

"Rising sea levels are predicted to result in loss of inter-tidal habitat in the Severn Estuary. Steart Marshes will replace about half of this loss and reduce the flood risk for local communities. Just before 7am on Monday 8 September, high tides entered 250 hectares of low-lying land for the first time in centuries...

Friday, 12 September 2014

Malthouse wine making

There's a beautiful vine outside our offices, lovingly tended by the Arboricultural Association (our landlords) which last September, had a mass of grapes, ripe for harvest.  We decided to make some Malthouse Wine - vintage 2013.

Here's Mike cutting some grapes.  We prepared the juice by pulping the grapes through a straining bag (a clean pillow case) into a bucket.  We added sugar and used a hydrometer to check the sugar levels (all impressions were that this was going to be a low alcohol wine from the start).

The juice was left for a few days, decanted into 3 demijohns and then we waited.

If you search 'making wine from grapes' online one result says, "It combines the process of fermentation with the creativity of the winemaker.  The fermentation process starts when yeast is added to grape juice.  The yeast consumes the grape's sugar and converts it to alcohol and carbon dioxide."

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Friday, 27 June 2014

Turkey Brook Landslip

After a large tree fell into the Turkey Brook at Forty Hall Country Park Estate, the bank of the brook was scoured out by fast flowing water.
Enfield Council contacted us to help with the revetment work and we came up with an unusual solution involving willow planting, gabions, infilling with soil and coir matting to keep the whole thing in place.
All looks peaceful and calm in this photo taken in June but in winter when the works were carried out, it was necessary to keep the water away from where we were working.  A temporary silt barrier was constructed from an impermeable curtain woven with a geotextile and floating oil boom, secured to the base of the riverbed.
The willow is growing well and the bank is much more secure than before - the clients are very happy with the result.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Quality assured!

For the past few months, we have been working towards accreditation in Quality Management for ISO 9001 and Environmental Management ISO 14001.

As a small, flexible company, we have been customer-focused from the beginning.  However, going through this process has forced us to implement better ways to keep on top of areas such as customer feedback and employee suggestions and really take note of issues that affect the smooth running of our business.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Willow better than plastic!

Many people believe that synthetic materials must be stronger, lighter in weight and more flexible than natural materials and that if something from nature has not been replaced by a manmade product yet, then it’s only matter of time.  But this isn’t the case for willow. 

Used for hundreds of years, willow would have been grown extensively in many parts of England from the Somerset Levels to the Norfolk Broads.  It was traditionally used (and still is) for making baskets, screens, coracles (traditional boats) and even for putchers (a specially woven fish trap).

Friday, 24 January 2014

Lovin’ the newts and snakes

2013 was the first year that we got fully involved with the actual trapping of newts and reptiles on the mitigation projects that we work on. Previously we would put up the fencing to enclose the development site and only come back later to maintain it. Last year we undertook the trapping programmes on 5 projects and met and saved a lot of beautiful amphibians and reptiles in the process.