FORS Gold for 2019

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John Bourne & Co takes safety, environmental performance and haulage best practice very seriously - something our customers frequently remark upon as well. The prime way of showing our commitment is by being FORS members, and we have just had confirmation that we continue to qualify in the top tier of the scheme.

FORS - the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme - is an accreditation scheme promoting best practice for commercial vehicle operators. The aim is to drive up the standards for safety, efficiency and environmental protection and accredited members of the scheme are required to show commitment to such standards well beyond the minimum legal requirements. There are three levels: bronze, silver and gold; each requiring increasingly stringent audits and evidence.

The FORS Association manages the standard and provides training and case studies, showing how being FORS accredited helps operators across the industry. There are now over 5,000 members but fewer than 800 have so far reached the Gold level. Many delivery contracts in London, in particular, now require the operator to be FORS accredited.

John Bourne & Co were early adoptors of the scheme, in line with our commitment to delivering the highest quality of service. We reached Gold status in 2016 and have just passed our second repeat audit, confirming our Gold status for another year.

We wish you a Merry Christmas...

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...we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas - and a Happy New Year!

Now, where's that figgy pudding....

See you in 2019!

You better watch out... we're telling you why

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Santa Claus is coming to town, so we are taking a bit of a break over Christmas and the New Year. Friday 21st Dec will be the last working day of the year, and we re-open on Wednesday 2 January at 8am sharp!

Futurescape Review 2018

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As the dust settles on the 6th instalment of the Futurescape trade show, it is worth taking a minute to recognise and appreciate the positive effect that both the show, and in general the ProLandscaper magazine and associated publications have had on our industry.

It has been 10 years since the first edition of ProLandscaper magazine was published and it has been an upwards trajectory ever since. The team at Eljays44 have helped to lift the profile of the industry we know and love, and given the landscaping industry the voice that it fully deserves.

This year’s instalment at the increasingly more congested Sandown park racecourse venue saw another great line-up of guest speakers covering business topics from industry big hitters like Ken White from Frosts Landscapes to more technical seminars from the likes of Green Blue Urban and Tim O’Hare Associates. These educational forums break up the monotony of stand surfing and allow new members of our Bourne Amenity sales team to gather invaluable insights from seasoned industry campaigners like Mark Gregory and David Dodd. The 30 under 30 competition is also a great way to encourage and celebrate emerging talent within the industry, which is desperately needed within the sector.

The strength of shows such as this is that they focus on innovation and education rather than being purely business driven and although we have had a stand since the show inception, it is a great opportunity to meet and share a coffee with friends and foes from within the industry. Although we operate in a ferociously competitive trading environment, the Futurescape concept allows for, and is at the time of year where, we can take stock of the year’s successes and look at ways to build and drive innovation moving toward next year. The single day, winter format is perfect for a quick snapshot of the marketplace and if this year is anything to go by, then the landscaping sector has never been more buoyant.

We welcome the input from the team at Eljays44 and are proud to support all of their new initiatives. We have recently been announced as the headline sponsor for their inaugural Podium Awards in March of 2019. We see ourselves as innovators within our own specialist field, and the exposure that comes from the shows, seminars and workshops provided by organisations such as BALI and Eljays44 has undoubtedly helped the industry move with the times, and respond to the challenging trading environment and a greater desire for innovation and excellence.

Overall the show was another resounding success, and the general takeaway feeling was that the industry was in decent shape heading into 2019. There are some startlingly innovative specifications that land on my desk on a weekly basis, from ambitious roof garden schemes to outstanding work in the field of SuDS and other environmentally continuous projects. The mood seems positive given the rising threat or opportunity provided by Brexit, and the team at Eljays44 are certainly doing all they can to promote the hard work and dedication emanating from within the industry.

The National Fruit Show

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John Bourne & Co were represented at the National Fruit Show 2018 at Detling Show Ground, Kent. The show presents the best of British produce and technology for fruit growers.

There was great attendance over the two days, which allowed us to meet new clients, talk to current clients and discuss opportunities for 2019. The main talking point of the show was the extraordinarily dry year, which in many instances resulted in a large crop of well sized top fruit (apples). For vines, an increase of up to 50% above normal was noted.

However, it was made particularly clear by the majority of visitors we talked to, that without compost application, the first-year growth and vigour would have been seriously affected. The excessive heat and lack of moisture during the growing season meant that, without compost, the soils would not have been able to retain the moisture, which would have been a significant detriment to the orchard.

Compost application to new orchards is achieved in two ways: (a) spreading down the marked rows before planting, ensuring that the compost falls into the holes with the root when planted. Option (b) is to spread down the rows immediately after planting, which helps with weed suppression, moisture retention and improving the soil structure with organic matter.

The increased yield, particularly on the vines, has caused an increased volume of product for pressing. So much so that sites are now using alternative storage options such as IBCs (intermediate bulk containers, typically about 1 cu.m.) and articulated tankers, as there is no extra capacity available. With the increase of smaller vineyards in the UK, this is something that needs more investment moving forward. If you look at the number of new vines planted, 50% of vines planted in the UK have not yet produced a grape. It takes three years for that vine to produce a crop suitable for consumption, so, when these vines start to produce a suitable crop, this will only compound the current problem.

The premium price that the UK wines maintain will also be tested with the increase in yield and lack of pressing facilities…