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13th October 2020

Ebsford Environmental are working in partnership with London Borough of Lewisham and The Friends of Beckenham Place Park to manage an Azolla issue at Stumps Hill Pond, part of Beckenham Place Park.

Azolla is a floating water fern, one of the UK’s most invasive non-native aquatic species; proscribed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and it is an offence to allow the plant to spread into the wild.

The plant forms a thick and dense mat over the surface of a pond preventing sunlight reaching the water and depleting oxygen resulting in a catastrophic loss of native diversity. Spreading extremely easily through the transference of organic material, the fragmented nature of the plant means that minute parts can easily regenerate and be transported between water courses, inadvertently on boots, on fishing or pond dipping equipment, dogs and perhaps most hard to control – wildfowl.

Like all ferns, in autumn the plant releases thousands of spores, meaning transmission of the species is almost impossible within the immediate vicinity. 

Mechanical control of the plant is often equally damaging to the biodiversity of the pond and it is almost impossible to avoid damage to banks. Stumps Hill Pond was regenerated last year by Ebsford with banks recreated, and planting carried out, so we were very keen to limit any damage to these. The use of Glyphosate based chemicals can be employed for control, however there is increasing demand to limit the use of chemicals within sensitive and public locations.

Ebsford were approached by Lewisham with the floating fern issue, which we quickly ascertained was extremely serious. A dense mat of azolla covered the entire surface of the pond and had started to terrestrialise the marginal damp areas of the newly created pond edges. 

Within the wider Beckenham Place Park, there is an extensive new lake complex which it was extremely important to try and keep azolla free.

Ebsford opted to manage the weed naturally using a Bio Control agent – a north American weevil which predates the plant in its native range. A seed population of the weevil Stenopelmus rufinasus is released onto the mat and as the population explodes the weed is depleted. The weevil relies exclusively on Azolla and are host specific, meaning they are completely safe and bio secure – posing no risk to native ecosystems. Because of its long occupancy, the weevil is now considered by DEFRA to be ordinarily resident and therefore no licensing is required.

With the help of local volunteers, a staggered seed weevil population was released at Stumps Hill in July 2020, over a period of 4 weeks. By week 2 a significant reduction in both density and extent of the mat, with clear water starting to show and within 8 weeks the Azolla was almost completely gone from the surface of the pond with clear open water visible.

25th September 2020

Things may look a little different this year with many MacMillan coffee mornings going virtual, but Ebsford were grateful for the chance to still come together along with other businesses in our estate to enjoy (far too many) baked…or shop bought treats!

A big thanks to everyone that contributed, this year we raised a grand total of £370. Once again, Ebsfords Jemma Scott has pulled it out of the bag and has done a great job organising the event alongside the Nostell Estate, who allowed us to host the socially distanced coffee morning at the new social hub, The Meridian Centre. So, thank you for your efforts….and the extra calories.

As you may know many MacMillan is one of many charities that has been struggling in the current climate and people living with cancer need our help more than ever. With an incredible £27.4 million raised for the World Biggest Coffee Morning last year, let us hope our efforts have contributed to a similar total! 

For those of you who couldn’t attend a coffee morning, if you would like to do your bit and make a donation (perhaps eat some cake as you complete the form), please follow this link:

13th August 2020

American Skunk Cabbage (a.k.a Lysichiton americanus) is becoming quite an issue across the UK countryside. Recently placed on the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern, the plant is well known for its distinctive ‘skunky’ odour that emits when in bloom.

Despite its popularity as an ornamental garden plant and available to purchase as recently as 2016, the native species has gradually escaped into the wild causing serious harm to eco systems. The species thrives in habitats such as swamps, wet woodlands and in areas surrounding rivers and lakes.

Skunk cabbage often appears before other native wildlife has started to grow and is easily distinctable with its striking yellow lantern shaped flowers. It can out-compete other native plants dominating large areas and using its leaves and dense stands to cause a shading effect. The species can also cause extensive local damage to native flora and over-time create a problem for biodiversity.

Growing up to 1.5 metres in height, the plants green, leathery leaves secrete a very strong odour which some describe as ‘evil’. The species is highly poisonous and if consumed can cause burning and swelling of the mouth and a choking sensation, its one cabbage you definitely do not want to eat. While it repels humans, this scent attracts pollinators, flies, and beetles, deceiving them into thinking that food is available, and unintentionally carry its pollen to another flower. By imitating the smell of decay, the plant has evolved to exploit the first pollinators of spring.

Often spread along watercourses and by bird or mammals, the plant reproduces almost exclusively by seeds. Per spadix there is between 300-650 seeds and once the large yellow flower disconnects from the stalk, the seeds will germinate next to the mother plant. A large seed bank can build up in the soil and last for up to 8 years.

Drift Reservoir is one of many locations being affected by the spread of this plant. As part of a project with South West Water, we treated an area covering up to 30 square metres. The infestation was small and plants sporadic, allowing us to use a targeted herbicidal treatment over three years which limits the impact of ground flora and is an advantageous method for sensitive areas.

As the plant takes hold, we are likely to see more and more cases, causing problems to increase and if left untreated could become a huge problem across Britain’s landscapes.

20th July 2020

It was back in 2016 that we first celebrated our achievement in gaining the ISOQAR accreditations for Quality Management, Environmental Management and Occupational Health & Safety. A lot has changed for us since then including significant growth, leading to a requirement for some changes to our processes and the way we do things.

During this period, we have remained hugely committed to these ISO standards and have been able to demonstrate sustained continual improvement over the years we’ve been accredited.

This year we are really pleased to have transitioned to ISO 45001, which is the international standard for health and safety at work and replaces OHSAS 18001. This brings us right up to date with this industry standard, more than a year ahead of the transition deadline.

These standards designed to demonstrate compliance also act as great guidelines to ensure we keep offering the same quality of service to our clients and deliver projects in and environmentally sensitive and safe way. We are still proud each time we pass any audit and thank our brilliant team for making the whole process easier to achieve.


Ebsford have just passed the latest accreditation audits for:

ISO 9001 Quality Management System

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System

ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management System

24th June 2020

At Ebsford HQ we have always welcomed our four-legged companions into the office. With National take your dog to work day approaching, it got us thinking about how much we are missing our canine colleagues whilst working from home, and how we can still help the charity this year.

It has also been an opportunity to reflect on how lucky we are to be based in the impressive grounds of The Nostell Priory Estate, a perfect location for us, and our pups!

As part of the annual dog-themed charity event, for the 7th year running many dog owners would usually have the ‘one-off’ chance to take their pooch to work. Businesses nationwide open their doors to employees’ dogs, to take part in raising funds and donating to charities dedicated to improving dog welfare in the UK.

We are especially grateful that we have a team of dog-lovers here at Ebsford, along with the space to accommodate them and although we appreciate animals are not for everyone, there are some significant benefits that can’t be denied. The presence of pets is thought to help reduce a person’s stress levels. In fact, studies show how dogs can massively enhance our health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

We appreciate how much dogs can do for us and our furry team wanted to make a contribution to those less fortunate.

This month, our pups have sacrificed their gravy bones and donated £30 each of their pocket money to help raise money for the charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs across the UK. If you’d like to top up their donations or find out more about their work then visit With many of us still working from home this year, the charity will need our help more than ever!


Let us introduce you to the canine side of the Ebsford family you might happen to meet if you visit.

 Tasha Hartley

A regular at HQ who visits our offices almost daily, she’s convinced she owns the whole of the Nostell Estate and takes her guard dog role seriously, offering up the odd bark at a stranger until heading back in for a snooze.








 Beau Holderness

 A long standing member of the team who put us all to shame when she joined us for the 3 peaks challenge. She’s also modelling our Ebsford mascot and promoting the family’s Japanese knotweed wine!





 Roxy Fisher

Looking deceptively peaceful in this photo, but don’t be fooled. Roxy Is all play and no work but now she has a new brother Luka to annoy she doesn’t visit as often.





 Zac Briant

Loves a site visit but comes in for meetings when there’s likely to be snacks around.












 Cooper Whitehead

The latest addition to our family at just 3 months old. Thrilled with office life but only managed to shred the one magazine on his first day.









We are sure they will be missing the office and their human colleagues as much as we miss them. Hopefully, we will all be back together soon, even if it’s at a social distance!


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Tel: 01924 802 190   |   [email protected]

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