Sssh, There’s a Pellenc About

The clearance of leaf fall and general maintenance is no longer a problem to Oliver Deeming, Grounds Maintenance Manager at the University of East Anglia (UEA), one of the world’s leading universities, thanks to the purchase of two Pellenc Airion battery-powered blowers and a Helion hedgecutter.

Located in 362 acres of rolling parkland but just two miles from the cathedral city of Norwich, the university has hundreds of trees with oak and birch the principal offenders in terms of leaf shedding.

For weeks on end Oliver and his team have the daily task of seeing that the mixed range of environments including housing blocks, classrooms, gardens, sports pitches, meadows and ancient woodlands which surrounds the university are safe from fallen hazards and always look in tip-top order.

Oliver’s dilemma had always been keeping a balance between maintaining the universities grounds and minimising disruptive noise. Previously, his petrol-engine leaf blowers and hedgecutters needed air defenders for the operative, so the lecturers did not welcome maintenance work throughout academic hours albeit necessary. Eighteen months ago he was introduced to Pellenc Lithium-ion battery-powered equipment by his local machinery dealer Felthorpe Mowers of Norwich and since then he hasn’t looked back.

“At first and because of past experience with electric equipment, I was a little sceptical about whether such quiet machines would actually have the power to do the job we wanted them to do,” said Oliver. “I didn’t want us to go back to hand equipment, so we took the Pellenc equipment on a two-day trial. I don’t mind admitting that I have been proved wrong. In fact, I would actually say it’s even more powerful than a conventional petrol blower of the same size.

“We use the blower for a full day’s work around the buildings with the added bonus of low vibration and low noise. They are also easy to carry, and having a multi-purpose power source in the battery back-pack is a real asset, allowing us to switch tools such as the hedgecutter from job to job.

The University has long been a leader in the field of environmental research and training and is committed to replicating this success in how they care for their campus and its surrounding environment.

“I wanted the university to be a leader in low carbon, low noise, low impact machinery and Pellenc has certainly helped me achieve this. I will be looking to replace all our petrol equipment with Pellenc battery-powered equipment where possible.

“People need to get over pre-conceived ideas that they have about past electric equipment and need to test this equipment for themselves – it’s brilliant.”

Safety first for Aberdour Castle

Health & Safety is a serious matter and has become a key issue for many involved in grounds maintenance. It certainly played a major role in the decision making process which led Historic Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government, to work with Etesia as one of their mowing partners for the up-keep of the agency’s large number of grass areas around their conservation sites.

The latest Etesia Bahia MHHE ride-on purchased from local dealer, Angus Chain Saws, is to be used to keep grassed areas in pristine condition all-year-round for visitors to Aberdour Castle in Fife.

Dating back to the 12th century, Aberdour Castle is Scotland’s oldest standing stone castle and as well as attracting over 13 thousand visitors each year, the castle is also a wedding ceremony venue. A high level of round the calendar upkeep is essential with Angus Cook, Head Gardener at the site, ensuring the 16th and 17th century walled garden and terraces which overlook the Forth are in top order at all times.

Previously, grass cutting had been carried out by a pedestrian mower, and when it came to replacing this, an extensive search was carried out by Scott MacFarlane, National Planning and Resources Manager for Historic Scotland. After looking at what machines there were on the market, it was felt the Etesia Bahia offered everything the Gardens needed for grass maintenance as well as being narrow enough to drive through narrow gates and be stored in a secure shed at the castle.

“We are looking at best practice working policies and which plant equipment to buy which is suitable for gardeners to use without risk of HAVS and other health and safety related issues,” said Scott. “We are constantly looking at improving the working conditions of our staff and now have a central procurement policy to purchase equipment from an approved list in place with service from the supplier, vibration levels of the equipment and reliability of great importance.

“Etesia’s mowers have many safety features which come as standard. We have worked with Etesia before on different sites, so we know their machines and their performance.

The compact ride-on mower is ideal for multi-tasking and easily adapts to every terrain, every grass cutting situation and every task. The pocket-size cut and collect mower, at just 0.82 m wide and 1.98 m long, features an incredibly tight turning circle and is able to nip into every nook and cranny as well as being able to be easily transported in the back of a van or on the back of a trailer.

“In normal working conditions we cut the grass in the gardens and on the terraces once a week,” said Angus. “Compared to our old walk-behind mower, I’ve managed to half the time it takes to cut and collect which leaves me time to carry out other tasks.

“The Bahia is small enough to go through tight openings and gates and is extremely good in tight spaces which were previously inaccessible. I’m now able to cut the grounds before the castle opens to visitors so that it’s presentable as they stroll around.”