Greenbelt

The Challenges of Unusual Weather

As we move into August, extreme weather patterns are only just beginning to die down at last in many parts of the country, following both heatwave temperatures and record-setting summer rainfall throughout a rather turbulent June and July period.

This combination of soaring temperatures and heavy downpours has brought new challenges to our operational and contractor teams, with nigh-tropical rainstorms in particular translating into unprecedented levels of growth within a relatively short time.

This interaction has caused many potential issues with encroachment, overhangs and general pruning, with trees, grass and shrubs alike growing rapidly, far larger and faster than under normal circumstances – for example, Cornus shrubs currently show between 1-2m of new growth in many instances, starkly up from its usual average growth of around only 45cm.

Likewise, grass of all types (including amenity, rough and meadow) grows much faster under these conditions, taking longer to cut and disperse or dispose of, potentially requiring additional visits even above those already prescribed by our regular summer maintenance schedules.

Furthermore, it’s not always best practice to cut the grass under these conditions, as it can do more damage than good if the ground has reached ‘saturation point’ in protracted downpours; some of our contractors have specialised machinery that can operate in wet (but not saturated) conditions, with our experienced staff and contractors trusted to make the correct judgement in each case.

Please be patient as we work on rectifying the after-effects of these unusual weather systems on the 600 estates we manage nationwide: operational staff and contractors are extra-busy trying to attend to this freak growth spike, so look out for pruning works and inspections in your area soon.

In the meantime, if you become aware of any excess growth, overhangs or encroachment on your development, or you wish to report any issues between monthly inspections, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer care team for a quick response at your convenience.

“With a warm end to the month and notable rainfall, it will be remembered for some extreme weather events,” said a spokesperson from the Met Office.

“Notably, Lincolnshire received about 230% of its expected rainfall. Wainfleet recorded the highest daily rainfall in the UK, with 7.5cm on June 10.

“Flintshire in North Wales was the wettest county when compared with average; it was the second wettest June since 1910. This rainfall was largely due to the presence of persistent areas of low pressure sitting in the loop created by the jet stream – known to meteorologists as an Omega block.

“Towards the end of the month, an area of significantly warm air moved northwards across Europe, brining record temperatures to France, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. In the UK, several days of high temperatures were recorded across the country, with some individual locations reaching heatwave thresholds.”

Remember that, during storms and heavy rainfall, Greenbelt’s Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) are designed to efficiently intercept and retain excess rainfall, groundwater and surface runoff, releasing it at a pre-defined and controlled rate to reduce stress on connected waterways and meaningfully mitigate the risk and severity of urban flooding, where present.

If you’d like to report a weather-related issue, from storm damage to grass scorching to overhangs following wet periods of increased growth, please direct your queries to our dedicated customer care team by telephone on 0800 028 1749, or by e-mail at customercare@greenbelt.co.uk.