Working in Watercourses

As most 'In Channel' works are required to take place from May to October, our project teams are now beginning to look into works on watercourses. However, before any site works can begin, the proposed method requires approval through an environmental permit process. Kingcombe have extensive knowledge of temporary and permanent environmental permit considerations affecting design, build and commissioning across a wide variety of projects; both main river (Environment Agency Consent) including protected rivers such as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and ordinary watercourse (Local Authority and Internal Drainage Board).Working closely with our clients, we begin all our projects with a detailed project assessment covering all  clients’ needs and requirements, operational resources/requirements and environmental considerations; the latter including location, ecology and environmental obligations (regulated, industry practice and voluntary).This initial project assessment helps identify the requirement for environmental excluded works, exemptions, permits (standard or bespoke) or the use of regulatory position statements. This information is fed into our project design, and if required, can be used to provide our clients with additional options and project variations to improve the success (financial and operation) of the project.Kingcombe operates an Integrated Management System, covering Health and Safety, Quality and the Environment, and as part of this, the project assessment continues throughout the execution of all Kingcombe projects. This continuous monitoring and assessment enables projects to adapt to new and unexpected situations that may occur as the project progresses.As well as our skilled in-house team, we retain the services of a third party Environmental Consultancy for additional support as and when required. This improves our capacity to undertake works and adds additional integrity to our work via third-party assessment.

Kingcombe Stonbury

Following the acquisition of Kingcombe Aquacare into the Stonbury Group, we are pleased to now operate under the new name, Kingcombe Stonbury Ltd Both Kingcombe and Stonbury have over 30 years’ experience each, as specialist contractors to the water industry. As a Group, we have a combined turnover of over £30 million and employ nearly 250 people. The change of name from Kingcombe Aquacare to Kingcombe Stonbury offers a true reflection of our combined values, experiences and services. The national footprint of Stonbury will extend the services of Kingcombe to the wider water industry, whilst bringing treated water expertise into the South West from our base in Crewkerne. Since the acquisition in August 2017, we have seen an excellent cultural fit between the two companies. Visually we are delighted to keep the Mayfly from the original Kingcombe Aquacare livery, combined with the strength of the ‘Stonbury Blue’ this has created what we believe, the right balance between our strengths and the fragile nature of the water cycle.

Gorgeous Gordon

As all boaters know, winter is always the time for boat repairs and refurbishment, ready for the coming season. We are no different, but this year we have changed the company colours from Burgundy and Gold to Blue and White, so our weedboat Gordon had a refit of all wearing parts and a respray. As you can see from the pictures, Gordon is looking resplendent in the new company colours ready for the coming season of work in London for Fountains OCS. The boat can be seen working around the capital from May onwards, but the crews particularly enjoy working up the Regents Canal through Camden and Little Venice where there is always plenty of banter with people on the towpath and in the canal side pubs and restaurants.We have two weedboats built to our own requirements, Gordon is based in London and Jenny operates from our yard in Somerset. Between them they work all over the country from the Broads to the Manchester ship canal keeping lakes, rivers and waterways clear of aquatic weed which is cut and collected ready for disposal.  

Skunk Puns Stink

For the third year running, we are about to carryout control of American Skunk Cabbage at a site in the New Forest. This work is part of the invasive non-native species control as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded New Forest ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership Scheme. American skunk cabbage is a large, imposing perennial producing paddle-shaped leaves up to 1.5 metres tall and yellow arum-like flowers in spring that are spectacular but foul-smelling (hence the name). Originally, from western North America, it was widely available from garden centres and nurseries for planting besides ponds and in bog gardens. It spreads vigorously in wet woodland, wetlands and ditches, forming dense stands that out-compete native vegetation by shading and smothering. Reproduction by seed in the wild is frequent. It has been reported in at least 10 EU countries. Under the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation, it is an offence in the UK  to intentionally keep, cultivate, bred, transport, sell or exchange this species or intentionally release it into the environment. Furthermore, the UK is required to take all necessary steps to prevent its unintentional introduction or spread. The large site presents awkward access bordering a lake and approximately 1 hectare of boggy woodland, requiring a long walk in full PPE with a heavy Knapsack sprayer. Due to the densities of the plants, we have used spray paint to mark individual plants and a flag system to help navigate the woodland. Our aim is to treat the plants before they have a chance to set seed. In this way, we will control the population and see it reduce year on year.

All Change in the Workshop

Currently our workshops in Crewkerne are in a state of upheaval. All the machines are being moved and a new overhead gantry crane is being installed to facilitate moving larger pieces of steel and completed fabrications. The steel racks and storage areas are being re-sited to make more room and division walls being erected to properly segregate the woodworking areas and metal working areas. During the autumn the lighting, heating and local exhaust ventilation were all upgraded to improve the working environment in the buildings. Through all the disruption the fabricators are busy trying to finish off projects for customers. Our workshops make all sorts of galvanised mild steel items, from debris screens to bridges, as well as bespoke stainless-steel fabrications such as equipment housings and flood gates. The woodworkers are always busy with jetties and bridges as well as preparing intricate pieces of form work to support the site teams. The intention is that after this refurbishment the workshops will be able to extend the scope of their activities and produce more finished fabrications for our customers.

Kingcombe Splash back into 2018

Construction is almost complete at our latest splash park in Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead.   The large interactive water play design includes 55 in-ground water features, including the new Glow Domes supplied by our American partner Water Odyssey™ and 57 individual spotlights. The park is home to a roman villa first uncovered in the 1960’s, (http://www.dacorumheritage.org.uk/article/the-gadebridge-roman-villa) so great care had to be taken in early stages of the project, with an archaeologist  being present on site during the excavation phase. There was no discovery of further artefacts or buildings, so work has proceeded smoothly. Inspired by the Roman heritage, an amphitheatre surrounds the top play area, this includes a power supply so that the space can be used as an event zone when the splash park is not in use. The glow domes and lights also mean that opportunities are endless for a variety of evening uses. We are very excited to see the finished article, with the grand  opening scheduled for May.

Brentford CRT Hangar

“Gordon” the Kingcombe Aquacare weed harvester, was directed to the Brentford area to clear up large infestations of the problematic weed. This non-native invasive species originally from North America, has spread across the UK since the 1980s and has the potential to grow a staggering 20cm per day. Non-native invasive species, are considered the second greatest threat to native wildlife and they cost the UK economy as a whole up to £1.7 billion a year. By stopping the spread at an early stage, it is much more cost effective than attempting to control species once it has become established. The Aquatractor with its moving bed and side cutters, takes no time to cut and remove the Floating Pennywort and place it in the waiting hopper barges. Once the bulk has been removed, we would recommend careful hand removal of fragments, followed up with a herbicide application where necessary.