Rovers 1 Carbon Footprint 0

Green is the driving force at ambitious Blue Square club


The boss of Ecotricity, the green electricity company which this summer hit the headlines with the launch of a countrywide network of solar power re-charging points for electric cars, is extending his mission statement and business ethos to the world of football. He is one of the first if not the first businessman to own and run an electric car, so where to next? As the kick-off to the 2011-2012 season approached pitch mowing became part of all this with a new mower from Etesia being launched at this year’s IOG Saltex the focal point.


Dale Vince OBE took over as Chairman of Forest Green Rovers just nine months ago and is step by step transforming the Blue Square Premiership club into an entirely green and eco self-sufficient enterprise. The aim is to make it the first such club in British professional football. Water recycling from all sources – rainwater and the washing-up – is already very much a feature at the delightful Gloucestershire stadium, charmingly called the New Lawn. There is a five-year sustainability plan and the first building blocks are firmly in place. He’s called what’s starting to happen to car powering a revolution. There may well be a similar kick-start in the world of football.


The Club had moved just a few hundred yards from its previous abode on the edge of the country town of Nailsworth back in 2006. Not surprisingly thisforest_green_rovers was called the Lawn. Rovers’ new home is a handsome stadium, certainly for this level of the football pyramid, but as groundsman Stewart Ward points out, the initial pitch did require subsequent improvement, notably a fresh drainage system installed by contractors Pugh-Lewis and which links into a water recycling set-up.


Stewart’s appointment last year was another move in the green direction for the Rovers, since he shares the Chairman’s thinking wholeheartedly. He explains that the philosophy at the club is a simple one – to be more sustainable, greener in its day to day running, and have a more organic approach to how they do things. It is Stewart’s first venture into football groundsmanship. He and Forest Green Rovers seem tailor-made for each other.

“The chairman is passionate about all of this and is very much a father-figure for putting it into action,” he says.


“Obviously this very much affects the way I keep the pitch in shape. What Dale has in mind for the club is very much how I have always felt and I am really enjoying putting it into practice bit by bit. There’s a lot more to do of course.”


Stewart had been a user of Etesia machines in his previous job looking after the grounds at Gloucester’s Hartbury College, best known for its equine, sports and landscape science courses, and had long been a fan of the French manufacturer’s attention to environmental aspects of product development. It has been working on battery and solar-powered ride-on mowers for sometime as a practical eco alternative to traditional fossil fuelled machines for sports and amenity surface cutting.


As part of the fine-tuning process prior to IOG Saltex launch Stewart used one of the company’s new Bahia Electric ride-ons on trial for pre-season cutting. The idea was to provide Etesia’s UK general manager Les Malin with real feedback on its performance. It was the breaking of new ground. Forest Green Rovers was the first football club in this country to use electric mowing for its pitch, and Stewart gave it a good report – not just because of his own eco leanings – but for its cutting and collecting credentials.


“It does the job really well and at a decent speed,” he said. “It’s so much quieter than a petrol machine with much less vibration too, and of course there is absolutely no worry about oil or fuel spillage.”


The New Lawn pitch was renewed at the end of May. Koro removal of the previous surface was followed by the addition of 150 tons of sand and re-seeding with Rigby Taylor’s R14 mix, incidentally the same as used at Stamford Bridge.


The Bahia machine on trial at the New Lawn was plug-in re-chargeable, but it could be that the club will eventually opt for solar powering the four 48v batteries. Full charging takes six hours via a 16amp 200v socket and charger. This, says Stewart, is about twice what you need for cutting and collecting a full size pitch, and the New Lawn is a big one, 100 x 70 yards.


The Bahia’s cutting width is 80cm and with the newly established summer sward Stewart showed off an impressive mown look, invitingly ready for the club’s first home pre-season friendly against Bristol City. He was confident that the New Lawn would be looking immaculate two weeks later for the first home league fixture against Stockport County when Sky Television cameras would be putting the mower’s finish to public gaze.


Stewart sees that all pitch cuttings are recycled, passing them to a local farmer. All clippings are 100 per cent non-toxic at the New Lawn because all pitch treatments are organic-based and he is regularly in touch with the Soil Association for advice on nutrient application. He says the grass box on Etesia’s new electric mower (240 litres) does an efficient collecting job for him. Both driving and cutting transmission are 100% electric, so there’s absolutely no addition to the eco footprint.


For a football club chairman and its groundsman to share an interest is rare enough. For them both to embrace the virtues of a piece of turf kit is a big first in football. All the nasties that combustive equipment put into the atmosphere – hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, the lot – score nil at the New Lawn thanks to the Etesia Bahia and this gets a big cheer from the directors box and the groundsman’s hut. Supporters may for the moment be more interested in how the team is doing, but the green mood is definitely catching down at FGR.


Groundsmen wanting to see Etesia’s new Bahia ride-on electric mower and the optional solar power re-charging source for themselves can do so by visiting stand UO5 and demo plot UO4 at IOG Saltex.


For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit


—– Ends —–

Photo Captions:

1. Stewart Ward using the Etesia Bahia on the New Lawn pitch
2. A solar power re-charging source – an extra ‘green’ option
3. Forest Green Rovers will be playing on a really green pitch this season
4. The ground’s water recycling unit shows chairman Dale Vince really means green business at FGR


Another New Dealer Appointment for Etesia

Etesia UK has announced a further new appointment to its dealer network, including both Etesia and Pellenc brands. To strengthen their service in the South East of England, FR Jones and Son have joined the ever expanding list, covering the Kent region.


FR Jones and Son are a family-run business based in South-East London, specializing in horticultural and arboricultural equipment, supplies and service. The company has been trading since 1968, gaining plenty of experience and knowledge of all of their products. Over the course of their 40 years in fr_jonesbusiness, the company is proud to have built up a loyal nation-wide customer base.


To coincide with the new dealer appointment, the company held their successful annual Arb and Forestry event held at the Kingswood Training Services site in Shipbourne, near Tonbridge Kent. This year’s event attracted over 800 visitors to the two day event on 15th and 16th July.


“This new product range that we can now offer is especially important to us,” Commented Justin Jones, Director of FR Jones and Son. “In a year where our customers are looking at every penny they spend, they want combined reliability with ‘green’ credentials and value for money. With the Etesia and Pellenc range, we can offer all of our customers the features which they are looking for.”


Les Malin, General Manager at Etesia UK said, “We are delighted to welcome FR Jones and Son into the Etesia family. They are one of many dealers that we have appointed this year as we grow this important part of the business. We know that local dealers are what our customers in this sector demand and we are happy to satisfy this.”


For further information, or details on how to become an Etesia and/or Pellenc dealer, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit

FR Jones and Son can be contacted on 020 8852 9668 or visit


—– Ends —–

Photo Caption:

To coincide with the new Etesia UK dealer appointment FR Jones & Sons held their successful annual Arb and Forestry event.


On the Housing Estate Etesia’s Smallest Pedestrian Rotary is a Real Pro

The upkeep of amenity turf within hundreds of housing estates up and down the country is a huge source of business for contractors. Reliability of mowing equipment is essential for this work. A contractor based at Battle in East Sussex, the FGS Group, chose the Etesia Pro 46 to handle the month-by-month cutting routine as part of its work for the Amicus Horizon housing association in the Hastings area.


FGS, which was set up 22 years ago, specialises in landscaping and grounds maintenance in the south east of England. Social housing like that provided by Sittingbourne-based Amicus is vital part of its service. It bought four of the rotary walk-behinds from another Sussex firm, South East Groundcare of Polegate, East Sussex. These are now in their second season of work trimming the amenity grass areas in over 30 estates and FGS has twelve operatives using them.


According to Jenny Waterfield, Contract Manager at FGS, the principal requirement for the grass cutting aspect of the Amicus estates work is that it hasfgs_group to be cut and collect. For so much of this type of amenity grass upkeep ‘cut and fly’ is often all that is wanted, but increasingly housing associations are asking for a neater, cleaner finish for residents’ amenities. Etesia’s pedestrian machine is designed specifically for speedy, efficient cut and collect operation.


“When we talked to Matt Clark at South East Groundcare about which mower would be best suited for this type of work we stressed the importance of ability to cope with cutting on quite steep slopes,” said Allen Welch, Contract Supervisor at FGS. “Much of the amenity area on the estates in Hastings is pretty undulating, so we needed a machine that could handle it. It also needed to be light enough for staff to lift on/off of commercial vehicles.”


“These Pro 46s are certainly light and easy to manoeuvre. We just bag up the cuttings and when each job is finished take for green waste. The grass areas are always left free of unsightly mowing debris, so the contract spec is fully met month after month.”


FGS has had the contract with Amicus – which also includes border maintenance and hedge trimming – for eleven years and when it comes up for tender again next January Jenny Waterfield is confident the contractor will be successful once more, thanks in no small part to the consistency of its mowing.


As well as the cut and collect virtues of the Pro 46, Jenny spoke of their business benefits.

“There is hardly any downtime,” she said. “The mowers are worked really hard over eight months of the year and just routine servicing is all we ever need. They were a sound investment and more than earn their keep.”

The single blade Etesia Pro 46 has a 5hp 160cc Honda petrol engine. Cutting width is 46cm, the detachable grass box with ‘full’ indicator has a capacity of 52 litres, and overall weight is just 37kg. Low vibration and noise levels meet all EU legislation and individual wheel height can be adjusted from 25mm to 88mm. There are six models in the range, with options including mulching facility. For more information or details of your nearest dealer visit or email

—– Ends —–

Photo Caption:

The Pro 46 is being used here by contract supervisor Allen Welch on the Thomas Brassey Estate in St Leonards.



Etesia Announce New Product Introduction Promotion

Etesia have long been recognised as producing machines for the commercial operator, and over the course of six years have worked with the UK’s largest grass cutting local authority to produce a machine capable of meeting their demanding workload. Now, Etesia has taken the decision to launch this model as a full production unit, available to the wider audience.


To mark this introduction, Etesia has launched a promotional offer. The offer, open until the end of October 2011 gives customer’s huge savings of over 25% on Etesia’s new Pro46 PHG2 bringing the RRP price of £740 down to £532 + vat.


As a result of demand from local authorities, this 46cm walk-behind mower has a large capacity 2.5 litre petrol tank designed to allow the operator to pro46complete a full day’s work without the need to re-fuel.


In addition to the large capacity fuel tank, there are important Health & Safety benefits – the need for less frequent refuelling which reduces the risk of spillage when working on site and, in turn, operator-exposure to petrol fumes is therefore minimised. The hazards associated with transporting petrol cans can also be eliminated, and, with once-a-day fill-up at the depot, consumption can be cost effectively monitored.


Built to withstand the rigours of commercial use, the Pro 46 PHG2 has a tough Xenoy cutting deck, making it lightweight and easy to transport. As with all rotary mowers in Etesia’s Pro 46 range, it offers low vibrations combined with high performance, quality cut and reliability – features which make many of the UK’s top councils and local authorities as well as landscapers and groundsmen come back year after year with large repeat orders. A mulching kit is also available.


To be the first to take advantage of the new Pro46 PHG2, or for further information on the Promotion and participating dealers, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit


—– Ends —–

Photo Caption:

Etesia UK has launched their 2011 ‘Summer Sizzler’ sales promotion giving gives customer’s huge savings of over 25% on Etesia’s latest specification Pro46 PHG2 rotary mower.


Pellenc Powers Ahead of the Competition

French manufacturer Pellenc has announced, with immediate effect, that all Lixion and Treelion pruning shears will now come with a three year battery and motor guarantee as standard, further powering the products ahead of the competition who remain to give a maximum two year guaranty as standard.news6


The Lixion are ergonomic pruning shears that combine power and speed whilst being the most compact and the lightest currently available on the market.

The primary characteristic of larger Treelion pruning shears is the ability to operate in continuous controlled mode, for precision work, or in pulsed mode for quicker cutting which has been described by many professionals as being years ahead of traditional electric pruning shears.


The fast, powerful Lixion and Treelion shears ensure exceptional cutting quality with the latest-generation interchangeable blades by Pradines, a world leader in professional pruning equipment known for its ‘slicing’ cutting technology.


Both models are the result of six years of research and development work conducted by a full-time, ten-person team at the Pellenc R&D centre in Pertuis, France. Both are light, robust and fantastically efficient having been designed for intensive cutting work, whether it be for vineyard work, arboriculture, the upkeep of parks and gardens or forests. Unlike traditional electric pruning shears, which can run for up to half-a-day or a full day, the shears also offers extended running time of up to three days (Lixion).


Pellenc is the world’s first manufacturer to offer a whole range of professional tools which operate with the use of a high capacity lithium-ion battery, totally removing CO2 emissions and noise pollution.


The full range of Pellenc products are exclusively distributed in the UK by Etesia UK. For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit


Photo Caption:

French manufacturer Pellenc has announced, with immediate effect, that all Lixion and Treelion pruning shears will now come with a three year battery and motor guarantee as standard