Relaxed hosepipe ban poppycock, says Leighton Buzzard turf supplier
A Bedfordshire turf supplier has called moves to ease hosepipe restrictions to help gardening companies "poppycock", which have done nothing to help trade.
Giles Talwell, from Leighton Buzzard, says Anglian Water's customers are now allowed to water new turf for 28 days, but only if a professional has laid it.
The ban still applies if the customer themselves does the work.
Anglian Water said the rules were "sensible" and were "never intended to put people out of business".
The water company was one of seven suppliers to impose restrictions on its customers across parts of southern and eastern England on 5 April, after two of the driest winters on record.Relaxed ban
Earlier this week, all seven relaxed the constraints for gardening businesses after April's record rainfall reduced the severity of drought conditions.
Landscaping, turf and gardening firms are now allowed to use hosepipes to water newly-laid turf and plants for up to 28 days from planting.
However, Mr Talwell sells most of his turf directly to customers and many lay it themselves. He says sales have dropped 80% since the ban was introduced.
He said he came across "total confusion" when he called Anglian Water to ask if he could water a new lawn.
"They said I could put a sprinkler on for 28 days to water it in," he explained.
"But when I asked if customers who felt confident enough to lay it themselves could water it they said they couldn't. What sort of poppycock is that?
"They ought to make a concession for anyone who has a new lawn to be able to water it in."'Under review'
Ciaran Nelson, from Anglian Water, said the ban was never intended to put people out of business and only ever applied to use by domestic customers, but the situation was "constantly under review".
"Unfortunately, businesses like turf growers and landscape gardeners were caught by the ban because they use hosepipes and sprinklers at domestic properties to help newly-laid lawns and plants establish," he explained.
"The recent change to exemptions addresses this by allowing businesses to water, where necessary, to get new plants and gardens established. Their clients can then continue to water for up to 28 days.
"There has been no change to the situation around domestic customers using hosepipes, this is still banned."