A big "thank you" to all our customers for being understanding about the difficulties we experienced this year in carrying out the maintenance on many developments.
As you have seen, our contractors had a torrid time this summer in keeping to the routine grass cutting programme due to the particularly poor weather across the whole of the UK. The wettest April and June on record; the 2nd wettest summer since records began; and the wettest summer in 100 years all contrived to disrupt the regular maintenance work we do.
The high rainfall meant grass-cutting machinery could not always deliver a "clean" cut, sometimes tearing the grass rather than cutting it. Machinery got bogged down. Ponding created a health & safety risk for operatives. As our full maintenance programme gets underway in April, the record rainfall that month meant it got off to a poor start.
On frequent occasions this summer, the grass on some developments could not be cut on the contractor's visit. Because our contractors work to a planned route to ensure they visit each development on a regular basis, this meant that there was a knock-on effect for other developments.
When the weather held, our contractors provided an unprecedented service on Saturdays and Sundays when necessary to catch up. They also worked later in the evenings.
Another aspect of the climatic conditions was the high failure rate of the herbicide sprayings that we carry out in late spring to keep the fencelines clear. This put additional pressure on our contractors who had to carry out this work by manual strimming of these areas.
The dreadful weather did not stop the weeds! We had to carry out manual weeding much more than in previous years.
Everywhere, our SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems) performed well. We had only one incidence of flooding in the whole of the UK (in England), but this was down to the ground being saturated and the system overloaded. This proves the benefit of these local systems, and insurers are now beginning to apply reduced premiums to areas with SUDS.
So our thanks to our contractors whose employees had to endure awful working conditions, and to you, our customers, for being patient under the circumstances.