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Environmental Policy

/Environmental Policy
Environmental Policy 2018-05-16T14:46:39+00:00

At Nicholsons have always been very conscious of our effect on the environment and this document highlights our current ‘Environmental’ position and shares our plans. We will always aim to improve, and set ourselves targets and goals for reducing our environmental impact.


We will endeavour to plan purchases more carefully to reduce waste and minimise errors. We will measure accurately, buy exactly, seek the best specifications, target value-for-money, and reject goods if they are not correct. We will store materials with greater care to reduce damage and waste. We will advise clients wisely, and endeavour to meet their needs exactly, with thought and consideration, and not to “sell up” at the risk of the environment. We shall seek to rectify any areas of weakness and set targets for the future.


  • We will re-use materials and recycle wherever feasible.
  • Pots – we wash and sterilise lager pots that come back to us
  • Paving – During landscaping and renovation work, we frequently have paving and stone available which we either donate to local schools or community projects.
  • Other reclaimed materials, including soil and hardcore, are re-employed wherever possible as in-fill on the sites where we are working, as part of the design process.We also minimise the unnecessary re-transportation of waste in this way.


  • Pots – all excess pots are sent by full articulated lorry to be shredded and turned into new pots.
  • Other waste is sorted by us into type and taken by a local firm to their recycling centre. They have facilities for recycling nearly every waste type. Even our skips are sorted through on their site to ensure anything we put in that can be recycled get found and recycled.
  • Wood – Wood chip arisings from our Arb operations are taken for biomass. Untreated wood that we get on site – pallet wood or cord wood is stored chipped and fed into our chip fired boiler.
  • Timber from tree surgery operations is returned to the yard to be processed into logs and kindling for sale through Nicholsons Firewood.
  • Green waste – is taken to our closest composting site at Ardley for recycling in a roll-on roll-off skip. Where possible, green waste is taken directly to Agrivert to minimize diesel miles. We also encouraging our clients to look into composting facilities of their own and we can build the same.

In the Office

  • Office waste paper is recycled at every desk station. We use “Print Preview” to reduce printing errors and waste. We avoid printing emails and our systems have become less and less reliant on paper.
  • All paper supplies are from FSC approved sources. Material should be filed electronically, on the central server, if at all possible. Our aim is for a “paperless” office by 2015.
  • Our cleaning products are environmentally friendly brands.
  • We continue to support our local organic dairy in North Aston who supply all our milk.


  • We source with quality in mind from local suppliers wherever possible. We only buy from continental Europe when there is no UK equivalent and, in such instances, we endeavour to achieve linked deliveries.
  • Year on year we are reducing our reliance on continental purchasing.
  • We purchase in bulk to minimise packaging and transport miles.
  • We grow our plants under UK legislation, with particular attention to reduced pesticide input by crop monitoring.


  • National targets for bagged products are that they should achieve peat-free status by 2030 for professionals.
  • We continue to have peat-free trials and several crops are now grown in completely peat free substrates. At the same time we have year on year reduced the peat percentage in our compost mix from 80% to currently 60% will continue to reduce provided the compost does not reduce the quality of the plants we grow.
  • Our preliminary aim is to achieve peat-free in 40% of our production and buying by 2020.
  • All our bagged products for retail sale are peat free.
  • We are still operating at an unacceptably high percentage of peat use and are striving to reduce this as a matter of urgency.


  • The pots that we use currently are produced from 98% recycled material.
  • We are trialling ‘Hairy pots’ and ‘Cardboard’ pots to see if ewe can be less reliant on oil based products.
  • However, as demand increases, and costs reduce, we hope to be moving towards a non-plastic based pot by 2020.
  • We encourage all our customers to return their empty pots to us after use, so that we can either re-use or recycle them.

Building and Hard Landscaping, Tools & Materials

  • We aim to use only local quarries for all of our aggregate needs (Smiths of Bletchingdon). Where materials cannot be sourced locally, we strive to minimise fuel-miles.
  • We have reduced our use of Indian Sandstone, used for paving slabs, from75% 5 years ago to less than 15%. We now use Recycled York stone and freshly quarried York stone.
  • We aim to buy locally, where at all possible. We will purchase sustainable products where we can, and seek to obtain quality products that will be more durable, appropriate to purpose, and fulfil our needs more effectively.


For tropical hardwoods all timber is from FSC certified sources. Softwood timber is sourced, wherever possible, from UK forests. Where timber is imported it is sourced from FSC certified woodlands.
Where softwood timber needs to be long-lasting whilst in contact with the ground, this timber will be ‘redwood’ Hazard class 4 material , and not ‘whitewood’ (spruce) to ensure appropriate uptake of the wood preservative treatment . Exceptions to this can be made only where a short effective life-span is acceptable or desirable, such as in tree stake use.

Vehicles & Deliveries

  • Company vehicles are well serviced, low mileage examples, offering best possible mpg with low CO2 emissions. We will be carrying out feasibility studies into the possible introduction of alternative fuel types, including electric and LPG.
  • Additionally, all fuel consumption is monitored per vehicle and action taken if vehicles are not running efficiently.
  • We have replaced two Land Rovers with more economical vans for our landscape teams.
  • We have had driver efficiency training and AA training on cold weather driving.
  • With good planning and support of our clients and suppliers, we should strive for long lead times and ensure that deliveries are linked and more efficient.


  • We run an 85kw chip fired boiler for heating our offices and one residential building.
  • All filament bulbs have been exchanged for low-energy wherever possible. Exterior lights are on timers to achieve best compromise between security/safety and energy consumption.
  • All the water used for irrigation on the nursery is from our own 6000m3 reservoir. The water is collected from the site roofs, including the barns and polytunnels. Plants on the nursery are checked daily for watering requirements and only watered as required.
  • We have installed Photo Voltaic (PV) cells which will generate over 40,000kWh per year and are now monitoring our consumption with the aim of self-sufficiency.

Wildlife & Statutory Requirements & Habitats Directive 2004

  • We adhere to Natural England guidelines relating to the protection of European Protected Species.
  • Nicholsons Forestry specifically adhere to Forestry Commission (England)/ Natural England Guidelines relating to European Protected Species in all their operations.
  • This legislation protects all seventeen Bat species found in England, as well as Dormice, Great Crested Newts, Otters, Sand Lizards and Smooth Snakes.
  • We are compliant with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with regard to Nesting Birds.

Forestry Act 1967 (as amended) & Town & Country Planning Regulations

  • The above regulations are the primary means by which tree felling is controlled. We secure the necessary permissions and licences prior to our felling operations whenever they are required.

Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (Forestry) (England & Wales) 1999

  • Whilst this is not a well-known piece of legislation, it does regulate new planting, deforestation (the clearance of woodland to other uses), and the development of forest roads and quarries. The regulations apply to all such operations, whether grant-aided or not, and thresholds are used to guide foresters on when to seek permission under this legislation.
  • We will consult with the Forestry Commission where the thresholds are likely to be exceeded, and apply on behalf of our clients to secure their consent.

UK Forest Standard & Forestry Commission Guidelines

  • The UK Forest Standard outlines the Governments vision for sustainable woodland management. Standard Notes contained within it give a helpful overview to best practice, which draws heavily from other Forestry Commission Guidelines and Practice Guides. We follow these in our business; specifically those relating to the protection of water and water courses, landscape, archaeology and management of ancient and semi-natural woodlands.
  • We are aware of the Environment Agency’s Legislation on Bonfires and have the statutory D7 Exemption Certificate, which we are happy to display if requested.
  • We follow good practice procedures in the event that we encounter Japanese Knotweed during the course of our work.
  • We always stop work if any change in profile in the soils we are working with looks to be man-made, and we seek the advice of the County Archaeologist, with clients’ permission, if we ever encounter material or finds of archaeological interest.

If you would like further information about our Environmental Policy, or wish to discuss any aspect of our plans, please do not hesitate to Contact us


We have a wide range of trees and hedges in stock, if you would like to discuss an order, please contact us.

  •    01869 340342


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