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Green Zone:

Hirers join green debate

EHN’s snapshot of independent hirers shows the extent to which they, and their customers, are being affected by green issues.

Andy Lathwell, Hire Manager, Browns Groundcare Hire, Leighton Buzzard

"Local authorities represent one of our largest markets and they are under enormous pressure to develop facilities to recycle resources. We have added machines like Timberwolf chippers and shredders, which are very popular, as well as bigger equipment like telehandlers with specialist attachments for large-scale movement of materials at recycling stations.

We are obviously busy serving our core grounds care hire market, but later in the year we will actively explore fleet additions that could be used for other recycling tasks. There is going to be tremendous growth in the amount of initiatives for materials recycling and re-use, and green issues are certainly a huge opportunity for every business involved in hire."

Tony North, Director, Bingham Hire Centre, Croydon

"Every hirer should become increasingly aware of their responsibilities regarding green issues. As a significant part of our customer base is in London, we have had to replace one of our delivery vans because commercial vehicles deemed to have higher emissions are liable to Mayor Ken Livingstone’s £200/day Low Emission Zone congestion charge! This represents a significant investment, and such harsh measures have a big effect on small businesses. However, we obviously want to offer our customers in the capital a seamless service and to take a responsible stance on the environment."

Malcolm Davies, Owner, AMD Mini Crusher Hire, Staffordshire

"We like to think that we have very strong green credentials, as the equipment in our fleet genuinely offers solutions to serious waste management issues.

Rising costs of waste disposal, landfill reduction targets, increased aggregate costs, Site Waste Management Plans and the introduction of EU legislation all mean that things are about to change massively and permanently. The days of just disposing of rubble in skips, tippers and grab lorries, and then carting it away are numbered. As tougher EU and UK recycling regulations are introduced and implemented by local authorities the simple fact will be that, if you can recycle on site, then you must – no arguments!"

Stuart Selway, Manager, Wells Hire Centre

"We are not experiencing any customer pressure to change the way we operate, but obviously, if we did, we would respond accordingly. However, we know that our major suppliers, such as JCB, are under pressure to increase the carbon efficiency of their equipment, and so we - and our customers - benefit from the improved equipment designs and lower running costs. Similarly, the Honda engines that come as standard on many pieces of kit we buy now feature reduced emissions, so in that respect we are ultimately providing a greener hire fleet."

Richard Roberston, MD, Akro Multihire, Livingston

"We have a number of chippers and shredders in our hire fleet and they have proved very popular with local councils. As part of our commitment and service to customers, we have taken our own videos of these machines in action and posted them on our web site. This enables enquirers to see just how easy it is to recycle materials, and to dramatically reduce their waste disposal costs."

Lee Stuart, Sales Director, Mather & Stuart, Wigan

"Back in 1997, the government set the goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2010. This target now looks unlikely to be met, due to increased burning of coal in power stations, prompted by a rise in the cost of gas. However, in partnership with a third party, we have, since 2006, been undertaking trials with bio-diesel fuel in some of our generators.

Initial independently verified results are encouraging. The bio-diesel utilised is made from recovered cooking oil and fats. The modifications to the generators are minimal and results are very encouraging, but some manufacturers can be unwilling to provide engine warranty. Also, the fuel has limited availability. The overall performance results will be reviewed later this year."

Steve Davies, Director, Floorquip Tool Hire, Leigh

"As hirers of specialist floor preparations equipment, we are well aware of the hazards of dust that can be created when machines are in use. We work very closely with our customers to ensure we provide the best dust control solutions, offering HEPA 13 filtration systems, for example. We are currently working on providing information to our clients that will illustrate the harmful nature of airborne pollutants, such as dust particles. By providing simple, straightforward advice, we are convinced that we can help protect customers from many of the risks."

Stuart and Ben Parker, Parker Tool Hire, Nottingham

"There is a gradual increase in emphasis from customers regarding green issues. We are regularly being asked to provide dust control accessories with cut-off saws, so there is strong demand for water suppression kits. Fuel spillages are another concern for end users, so we offer diesel drip trays for use underneath machines, as well as hand pumps that can be used with jerrycans to make refuelling easy. These are just some of the simple ways in which we can help our customers get the job done, whilst reducing the impact on the environment."

Steven McInroy, MD, SGM (UK)

"We have certainly seen rising demand for chippers. You just need to look at motorway embankments to see how contractors now convert timber in situ and use it as a mulch. We have considered adding shredders to handle green waste on a larger scale at recycling facilities, but local authorities currently have other priorities such as targeting construction waste and household refuse.

On our main grounds care machinery hire business, we see a slight trend away from mowing machines that collect grass clippings, on certain contracts, as disposal is now so costly. Regular cylinder or rotary mowing keeps cuttings small and means that valuable nutrients are not removed."

Executive Hire NewsArchivesApril 2008City News › Hirers still announcing good results

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