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As 2017 comes to an end, it is good to reflect on what has certainly been an interesting year as the government and others struggle to come to terms with the implications of Brexit.  We are certain that 2018 will see many opportunities in the environmental sector and we look forward to working with you to help maximise these.

The last year has seen an increasing focus on the environment and those responsible for its protection and management.  ‘Natural Capital’ is a phrase that is coming into our day-to-day language.  The benefits that it encompasses, such as food production, water and air quality, energy generation, health and wellbeing, and construction materials are vital for our society.  The widely predicted move away from production subsidies will result in fundamental changes to how rural property is regulated and funded.  We are already seeing some of these opportunities coming forward with changes to environmental protection regulations and improved grant funding, in particular associated with HS2 and woodland creation.  We are focused on being at the forefront of this agenda to help support you, your clients and the sector to embrace these challenges and opportunities.

Our staff

We continue to support and develop our staff to ensure that we can deliver the highest quality and most up to date advice.  Training and personal development is at the forefront of our company culture, and many of our staff are currently undertaking high level, recognised professional qualifications.  We look forward to celebrating their efforts and personal achievements over the coming year.

This year we were delighted to have our professional expertise recognised with two of our client estates (Morton Hall Estate in Nottinghamshire and Wakefield Lodge Estate in Northamptonshire) receiving joint silver in the Royal Forestry Society’s 2017 Excellence in Forestry awards.

During 2017, we have been delighted to reward development and progression, promoting five of the team and celebrating ten-year anniversaries for Nicola Wilkins, Matthew Willetts and Simon Muddiman.

The team continues to expand, in particular within the Ecology department in response to our clients’ demands.  Over the year, we have been delighted to welcome:

  • Julie Watson, Ecological Consultant;
  • Sophie Amphlett, Assistant Ecological Consultant;
  • Natasha Hannah-Lyons, Ecology Assistant;
  • Sophie Barrell, Graduate Ecologist;
  • Ewan Ryan, Arboricultural Graduate Consultant; and
  • Arwel Davies, Forestry Placement Student.

We are also pleased to have recruited a new forester for our Oxfordshire office, who will be starting early in the New Year.  We have open positions for a Principal Ecologist, Graduate Landscape Architect and Arboriculture Consultant.  If you know of anyone who would like to join our highly skilled and motivated team, please direct them to our website.

One particular highlight of 2017 was the promotion of Dionne MacDermott from Associate Director to full Director and Shareholder.  Since Dionne joined Lockhart Garratt in 2003, she has continued to develop personally and professionally.  Dionne is the Director of Finance, whilst also providing HR and staff wellbeing support throughout the company.

In December Shaun Phillips and Nick Bolton earned chartered status in Arboriculture by receiving Professional Membership to the Institute of Chartered Foresters, whilst Ian Dudley qualified as a Chartered Landscape Architect.

Culture

Our culture continues to be at the heart of everything we do, and we were proud to sign the ‘Time to Change’ pledge with the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Knowledge sharing

We continue to share our technical knowledge and understanding with our clients and professional colleagues.  During 2017, we organised a wide range of highly successful events including business breakfasts and seminars with high profile speakers from the industry and a series of free technical workshops on ecology and veteran trees, providing attendees with a higher level of understanding on how to approach these potential constraints and opportunities.   We are developing and expanding this programme, and in response to suggestions we are planning to run additional workshops on ash dieback, green infrastructure and landscape assessments in 2018.

Details of all events will be provided via our monthly newsletters, social media accounts and website news page.  We very much hope that you will be able to join us at these events.

We also continue to engage and support the sector, and as a business, we are actively involved with the RICS, ICF, RFS, Confor, CIEEM, Grown in Britain, Arboricultural Association, Tree Design Action Group, National Tree Safety Group and the Defra Ash Dieback Health and Safety Taskforce.  Through these organisations, we are able to guide and shape the direction of policy.  In conjunction with the RICS and ICF, we are delighted to be bringing together a high profile woodland and Natural Capital event in Oxford on 17th April 2018.

Coming of age

2018 will see us celebrate our 20th anniversary.  This provides us with a fantastic opportunity to look back at our achievements and successes of the past 20 years.  With our staff, we are currently planning a programme of events, challenges and parties, and we very much hope that you will be able to join us in our celebrations.

And finally…

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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