TDR improves social, environmental and operational bottom lines at Ealing Council
Less than ten miles north of the City, the London Borough of Ealing has a population of around 350,000 and is considered one of the ‘greenest’ boroughs in the UK. With over 1000 hectares of parks, open spaces, sports and leisure facilities, 25% of its land mass is considered ‘open space.’
Until recently, the parks and green facilities were maintained by contractors, but recent changes in environmental expectations and, indeed the needs of the local community, prompted the local council to look at ways of improving the services for their residents.
Groundcare Maintenance Supervisor, John Carpenter, has been with the local authority for some 37 years now and supervises the teams of maintenance staff looking after facilities that include, sports fields, schools, parks and residential area.
Grounds management policies changing with the environment
“One of the reasons Ealing have taken the grounds maintenance back in-house,” commented John Carpenter,” has been to improve our cost-effectiveness and give our residents the best value-for-money, while at the same time adjusting our grounds management policy to a more current strategy. We are increasing the percentage of land which is down to wild meadows, with wild flowers – attracting a greater proportion of wildlife. It’s what our residents are looking for. At the London Borough of Ealing, we want to do everything we can to improve the environment and therefore the quality of life.”
In taking over the grounds maintenance programme from the previous contractors, the London Borough of Ealing invested in three Major TDR 16000 Roller Mowers that would handle both sports fields – such as football pitches and cricket squares, as well as maintaining parklands, verges and general open spaces that include the taller grass areas and flower-filled meadows.
One machine for sports turf and meadowland conditions
Added John, “The flexibility of the Major TDR Roller means we don’t need lots of different mowers in our fleet. The mowing duties can include sports turf which we cut at around 30mm – up to the meadowland areas, which typically we cut anywhere up to 75mm, but the mowers can be set to 150mm if required. This gives us great flexibility for any future changes in our strategy.”
“The Major mowers have a really simple height of cut adjustment and this means our operators will make the adjustments wherever necessary, it doesn’t take lots of tools and setting calculators – it’s really easy,” continues John. “The Major TDR is also a rotary mower and is less affected by undulating ground, avoids scalping and leaves an excellent striped finish. The grass looks much improved once we’ve gone over the sweeping parkland areas.”
Reliable, flexible and safe
“The Major mower models we use all have eight rotors, thirty-two blades and a cutting width of sixteen feet, so we can cover the ground very quickly. Two of these mowers work all day, every day, with the third concentrating on the infrequent cutting plan for the meadowland areas.”
The wings on the Major TDR 16000 fold up to give a transport width of 2.5 metres. “We can use the rear deck independently of the wings, which gives us additional flexibility,” explained John. It also comes with full road-lighting providing a perfectly safe environment for the operators and other road users when travelling between parkland areas.
“No belts to keep adjusting – just a solid direct, gear drive”
“Another thing I really like about the Major TDR,” commented John, “is the fact that they are really low maintenance. No belts to keep adjusting – just a solid direct, gear drive.” As is often the case in a heavily populated area, there are often things like, bricks, cans, even scaffold knuckles left lurking in the grassland. “The old cylinder mowers we used to have would need a lot of expensive repairing when they came across these items, but the Major mower design is such that the blades just swing out the way,” said John.
Improved appearance with minimal maintenance
The front and rear rollers on the Major leave a really nice striped finish and John and his team are already seeing an improvement in the appearance of the grassland, from both the quality of the cut and the subsequent rolling and levelling. “We’ve found our maintenance and repair costs to be much lower with the Major,” explained John, “which means we get a much better return on investment for our community. The blades are easily sharpened by occasionally running a grinder blade across them and then we’re ready to go.”
The three Major TDR mowers were purchased through local dealer, Farol Ltd. “The back-up from our dealer, Farol Ltd, and also from Major themselves has been excellent. We see this relationship with supplier and manufacturer as one which can only enhance the experience and satisfaction of our residents in the long term,” concluded John.