Ebsford Environmental wins at National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 regional ceremony

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Ebsford Environmental Ltd has been announced as a winner at the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 regional ceremony.

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Jemma Scott & Gemma Reevell, Level 3&2 Diploma Apprentices in Business Administration

The Awards, now in their thirteenth year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Ebsford won this award in recognition of their contribution made to apprenticeships, something the business is passionate about and would like to develop further into the future.

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Small Employer of the Year Award 2016

On winning, Nick Hartley said:

“Since Ebsford was formed in 2011, Apprenticeships have been at the very core of our employment ethos. As an environmental contractor it is important to us not just to improve our landscape but to offer young passionate people the opportunity to learn new skills and develop them both professionally and personally. We are proud of our track record and currently 20% of our workforce is made up of staff who have been through or within an apprenticeship ranging from customer service, business admin, environmental conservation and marketing.

We are committed to continuing this ratio as the company grows and are more than aware of the crucial role our apprentices play in our growth and the way we are perceived in the industry. To be recognised for this commitment by winning this award is something that cannot really be measured. It is testament to their drive, hunger and passion and this award should be something each one of them is proud of for years to come.”

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Jemma and Gemma with Gill Hartley, Apprenticeship Manager

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said:

“The National Apprenticeship Awards enable exceptional apprentices and dedicated employers to receive the recognition they richly deserve. Apprenticeships enable people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed – in some cases up to degree level; and for businesses to grow the talent they need.

Ebsford Environmental has won the Small Business award for their region and I would like to congratulate them on their achievement. Winning this award is greatly deserved. There has never been a better time to become an apprentice or employ one.”

To find out more about the National Apprenticeship Awards, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-awards

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RIVER ECOLOGY IMPROVEMENT SCHEME STARTS

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The Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) has started work to remove a barrier to fish migration and improve the river ecology of the Old Mill Burn and Tarff water in Dumfries and Galloway.

The aim of the engineering work is to improve fish passage along the watercourse by removing an old unused weir and restore a more natural river channel. The dis-used Creamery Weir and sluice gate, at the Creamery Building on the Old Mill Burn, near Twynholm, presents a complete barrier to migrating fish species.

For fish such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout and lampreys, free passage between the ocean and freshwater environments is an essential part of their lifecycle for breeding and spawning. Removing obstacles that block these migration routes therefore helps the recovery of damaged fish stocks, while also preserving the natural ecology of Scotland’s watercourses.

By removing the fish barrier at the Creamery Weir around 10 km of river will once again be accessible to native migrating fish.

Rob Mitchell from RAFTS said: “Migratory fish species such as salmon and sea trout are under pressure due to a number of different factors. In the river environment, increasing and improving habitat is the most effective way to increase juvenile production. The easement or removal of barriers to fish migration such as the Creamery Weir is a very effective way to enable access to otherwise inaccessible habitat.

Francis Hayes from SEPA’s Water Environment Fund said: “The Creamery Weir Project is an exciting opportunity to allow salmon, sea trout and other native fish species to once again access river habitat upstream. It is an example of work happening across Scotland to help achieve our objectives set out in the River Basin Management Plan.”

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Jamie Ribbens from Galloway Fisheries Trust also added ‘We have enjoyed working closely with Doug Kennedy, RAFTS and SEPA on this project.  It is wonderful to think that salmon and sea trout will be able to spawn naturally this winter upstream of the weir site.  This project will help to increase overall fish stocks at a time when they are facing so many pressures in the marine environment.’

Specialist Yorkshire environmental contractor, Ebsford Environmental Ltd will be delivering the scheme which is expected to take one month to complete.

Nick Hartley, Managing Director of Ebsford Environmental Ltd comments: “This project represents another prestigious win for the water civils team at Ebsford and further demonstrates that our knowledge of sedimentation, river restoration and environmental approach to contracting is paying dividends. Being invited into the project team it quickly becomes obviously how passionate all the parties are in delivering such schemes and we are delighted that they are trusting the on-site works to Ebsford.”

Specialist works will include the removal of the redundant 3m high Creamery Weir and associated sluice gate, and installation of an engineered rock step-pool sequence. The works will be completed under close supervision in order to protect the original geomorphology of the burn.

Once complete the clear path will once again connect with the main watercourse allowing for the free and safe passage of all aquatic species of interest (migratory salmonids, Eel and Lamprey) resulting in long-term ecological gain for the area.

In at the Deep End

As a recent addition to the Ebsford Team, I have hit the ground running at the beginning of a busy summer for the company. Using our trusty Truxor machine, we have continued our highly successful and award winning zero-waste de-silting techniques.

My first aquatic project was a pond restoration at East Bierley, Bradford. The ethos of the project was very much focused on the community, as the pond was popular with the local residents and of course the ducks.

The aim of the restoration was to remove excess silt in order to restore the biodiversity of the pond, and re-use the extracted material on site to re-enforce the banks and prevent future erosion.

As you can see from our before and after pictures, there’s quite a difference and we’re pretty proud of the transformation.

Pond 2 before            Pond before

after pic

Once the hard engineering was completed, we teamed up with East Bierley Primary School to add the finishing touches to their local pond. We took this opportunity to give the children a mini lesson in ecosystems and biodiversity. They were very enthusiastic about the three large bags of wildflower seeds we gave them to plant. The children weren’t the only ones that had a great morning out, as even myself and our managing director couldn’t resist getting involved with the waders and jumping into the pond to do some more seeding, check out that technique, you’d think I’d been doing it for years right?

Hannah pond I can’t wait to go back to site in a few weeks and see how all the plants and flowers have grown and hopefully the ducks are loving their new home.

Happy weekend from Ebsford,

Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Shortlist to Winners

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Having made it on to the shortlist for the for the Heritage category at this year’s Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber Awards, the Ebsford team headed out on Friday for dinner, a few drinks and a great night with the opportunity to meet some of the industries leaders.

The ceremony held at the New Dock Hall conference venue in Leeds had a set up to rival any A-list red carpet event and some excellent speakers introducing the nominees along the way.

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The competition for our category was pretty impressive and as mentioned in our previous post we were honoured to be even placed in the same category as some of these companies and their projects.

 

Professor Chris Gorse, Director of Leeds Sustainability Institute who was presenting the heritage award began to read a statement about a project that sounded similar to ours. “A young company that managed to carry out a project with zero waste, market leaders and technology with the potential to become industry standard.”  It was only at this moment we even acknowledged that we could be in with a chance of winning. Imagine our surprise when we then heard Ebsford Environmental.

 

So it was with genuine amazement that we took to the stage to accept our award before continuing to celebrate with the winners of the other categories, and of course take part in the selfie challenge.

 

All of us at Ebsford couldn’t be more proud of this achievement, it was a big step for us and we are looking forward to working on more projects that will hopefully win some awards in the future.

 

Thank you to the organisers for a brilliant event and to the YHCE team for our win. The trophy looks great in our office.

We’ve made the shortlist!

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Ebsford are delighted to have made the shortlist for the Heritage category at this year’s Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber Awards.

Constructing Excellence are a well-respected organisation with a strong following across the UK. These awards recognise and celebrate the organisations, companies and project teams involved in delivering “excellence in construction” and Ebsford is proud to be amongst some strong competition as one of the finalists of the heritage category.

Our place on the shortlist is a direct result of our de-silting work at The Half Moon Reservoir. Fountains Abbey is one of Ebsfords largest and most successful heritage projects to date and we are proud to share this example of our success. A short video of this project can be seen on the Ebsford YouTube channel.

The Ebsford team are looking forward to what promises to be a great night at the awards ceremony.

Find out more about the awards and view our Fountains Abbey video using the links below.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Ebsford/

http://ckegroup.org/cexcellenceyh/shortlist-announced-for-constructing-excellence-yorkshire-and-humber-awards-2016/

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Dear Mr 20%

Dear Mr 20%

 

Reference – That project we could never have won 

 

Thank you for allowing us to tender for the above opportunity. As you can imagine, as an SME committed to offering exceptional quality and sensible pricing we were disappointed to find out that we were unsuccessful on this occasion:

Given the fact we scored 100% on the quality element of our submission, there is little benefit in requesting feedback.

I would however, like to give some further background on how we were able to achieve that score which will hopefully go some way to helping you understand our pricing model.

Credentials and accreditations

We think as a company it is vital that we take the worry from you over our quality and abilities. To this end we probably go a little over the top on our requirements. Currently we as company hold:

CHAS

Constructionline

SMAS

INNSA

Achilles

ISO9001, 14001, 18001 – Well we are working towards this but at significant expense

Staff

Our staff are the very core of everything we do. We can develop the best strategies and methodologies in the UK, however, if we have demotivated staff then a project will rarely get delivered in a way you’ll be happy with. It’s important to us that we pay our staff above the going rate so they are really committed to the Ebsford ethos. In addition to this we put them in good quality hotels, we give them all vehicles that are modern and have the comforts you’d expect if you were driving 30,000 miles a year.

For site works they have the best equipment on the market, whether these are knapsacks or dry suits. We need them to be comfortable but most of all safe in what they do.

Training

It’s not just enough to have well paid staff who believe in the company. You have to make sure that they remain competent to do the role they occupy. We have some basic rules for the business:

  • All project engineers must have a degree or preferably a masters in Environmental Engineering or sustainability.
  • All site supervisors must have SMSTS if they are to be managing any item of works.
  • All machine drivers must have SSSTS as they will in essence be supervising their own portions of projects.

We don’t need to do much of this. We understand that your requirement was for CSCS, however we don’t agree that a 45 minute touch screen test is enough to work on a site that could be flooded at any time or is an active construction site with numerous other contractors and machines.

Consultancy and tender preparation

It’s plain to see that you are happy with this with the score you gave us. We don’t achieve that by luck or guesswork. All our sites are pre-visited by not only the project engineer but by a member of the operations team who ensures that not only do we put together a commercially viable solution but also one that is buildable. In our experience this almost totally removes that little knock on your door that you get after the project has started asking for more money in compensation events because something has been missed in the specification.

I’m pretty certain if you don’t know what I mean by that you will do in the next 2-4 weeks.

Conclusion 

I know this letter can’t make any difference, and I am also switched on enough to know that this isn’t an issue of your making, but although you may not see it, you do have a choice:

In every tender I see there is a statement “We are not duty bound to accept the lowest priced or highest scoring tender”. Perhaps when you look at quality scores of 50% or below you need to ask yourself if this is a legacy that you want to leave behind? Of being an organisation that is so focused on costs that you are prepared to make that level of sacrifice on quality? Maybe you could be that person to take a stand and say *this isn’t good enough*.

I’m not a clairvoyant but to me the future seems clear, if this continues then higher quality organisations will feel excluded from these exercises and will therefore stop tendering. This will leave the lower quality scores that you receive now actually becoming the cream of the crop with prices being driven so far down that quality actually becomes irrelevant. If you cannot see that ultimately this will lead to unsatisfactory completions and additional costs then I suspect this whole letter was rather pointless.

 

Yours frustratingly

An exasperated SME owner

What Plant Are You?

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This may seem a strange question, although many of us are accustomed to the usual ‘if you were an animal which animal would you be and why?’……

I was interviewed yesterday about the company and everything we do and was asked this question, I have to admit to being caught slightly off guard. Some of you may be surprised by this and think the natural answer would be Japanese knotweed? Actually this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of our competitors, Japanese knotweed (insert generic last word here) do share many traits. They are pretty invasive in their presence with aggressive marketing campaigns or generic hourly tweets, they can grow massive, they can cost you a fortune and usually you only deal with them when you absolutely have to.

So I thought and thought, and then it struck me! I and indeed Ebsford aspire to be Butomus umbellatus or “flowing rush”. We stay green all year round, but really flower in spring and summer. We are at our happiest going unnoticed on the riverbanks and wetlands up and down the UK. We are much less intrusive and invasive than many of our bigger and more well known competitors and much prefer staying small and manageable.

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Butomus umbellatus – Flowing rush

However, don’t let this fool you. What many people don’t realise is that Butomus has a hidden secret. Recent scientific studies have proven that despite its small nature and attractive appearance it is actually able to clean up land and water with more efficiency than larger plants at a fraction of the cost and space, that is why more and more major schemes are specifying this as a ‘go to plant’ where phytoremediation and aesthetics are of key importance.

So perhaps there is a lesson here, it’s very easy to spend a lot of time on well-known plants that have perhaps been heavily publicised, but sometimes there is a lot to be said for doing a bit more research and finding something that will be there all year and hopefully interact in a sensitive and pleasant way. Who knows, maybe they’ll even save you money too?

So on your next project, why not try and find a Butomus contractor? Because nobody wants to have Japanese knotweed!!

Nick Hartley

Managing Director

Ebsford At Startups Awards Ceremony

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Last Friday, Ebsford amongst other hopeful finalists attended the Startups awards ceremony hosted at London’s historic venue, the Vinopolis

Over the years, the startups awards have recognised some of the UK’s most creative and innovative new businesses. Ebsford being considered for an award was an achievement in itself showing just how far Ebsford have come as a company to be picked out from so many applicants across the UK.

Although Ebsford weren’t fortunate enough to take first place for its category, losing out to Purple Bricks, the UK’s first 24/7 online estate agency for the innovative Business of the year award, it was still an honour to have been there amongst many other great new businesses.

Ebsford will hopefully have many more award wins to come as the company continues to grow but in the meantime, events such as these with a great atmosphere are a pleasure for the team to attend even if it isn’t always Ebsfords night.

Full write up of the evening can be found here – http://startups.co.uk/startups-awards-2015-winners-revealed/

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The event itself, hosted in the Vinopolis in London was wonderfully well set and is a great send off to the historic venue, due to close its doors at the end of this year.

Ebsford presents at South Yorkshire Property Network Seminar

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SYPN Seminar

Full attendance at SYPN

This morning our Managing Director, Nick Hartley was invited to speak at a regional meeting of the South Yorkshire Property Network on the “hot topic” of Japanese knotweed.

Hosted by Yorkshire law firm, Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, the SYPN is a group dedicated to offering a gateway into the South Yorkshire property market.

The seminar differed from the more traditional “identification” presentations in that is was designed specifically to the needs of the SYPN and covered the changes in specification, eradication and identification from when Japanese knotweed and invasive vegetation started to become an issue in early 2004.

Attended by over 50 delegates, ranging from Lenders to Main Contractors and Local Authorities, the seminar prompted great debate and the feedback received would suggest that it was well received and useful to all.

This seminar is one of a number that Ebsford Environmental has delivered in 2015, all of which were unique and bespoke to the audience. If you would be interested in attending one of our seminars then please get in touch with our marketing team at marketing@ebsford.co.uk and we will get back in touch.

We’d like to take this opportunity again to thank Lupton Fawcett Dension Till, the SYPN and most of all the people who took time out of their busy schedules to be such a captive and enthusiastic audience.

Yorkshire Post Environment Awards – A Win for Ebsford

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Award Write up - YP 06.08.15Last week Ebsford took to the stage to accept the 2015 Yorkshire Post Environment Award for Innovation. Ebsford submitted a strong application yet were still taken by surprise as the winner was announced.

All award winners were chosen by an expert judging panel which included Julian Walker-Palin, the Managing Director of Ecante, the sustainability consultancy, Dr Rebecca Heaton, the head of sustainability at Drax and Senior figures at GDF Suez Energy UK.

Ebsford were introduced to the room as pioneers in their field and received high praise from their individual category sponsors GDF Suez.

The full write up from Tuesdays edition of the Yorkshire Post, (pictured left) highlights the key areas that secured the award for Ebsford.

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All environment award winners on the night