Saturday 20 January 2018

Groundsman going green at SW19

A new electric lawnmower is being trialled during Wimbledon this year
A new electric lawnmower is being trialled during Wimbledon this year

The All England club is going green, trialling a new electric lawnmower at this year's Wimbledon championships.

If the experiment proves successful, next year's grand slam could see all courts mowed using electric mowers rather than the usual petrol-driven machines.

Head groundsman Neil Stubley said the mower, loaned by manufacturer Toro, is part of the club's efforts to adopt a greener approach.

"It's gone really well, the one that we're trialling is the same version of the petrol one that we are using anyway," he said.

"The club are very conscious about their carbon footprint and in sports turf we're always trying to see how we can improve it. Can we save energy, can we go for cleaner source energy? It's a constant problem of what's best for the courts, and also what are the added benefits.

"It's gone really well, we will do some more trials post-Olympics on everyday usage and if we can push it to the extremes that the petrol mowers can come to then I would be very surprised if it is not rolled out for next year's championships."

He said improvements in technology meant the shift to electric mowers can be taken now.

"Up until two years ago we couldn't because literally the battery would only last for less than an hour and we need batteries that last two or three hours as a minimum. Toro literally had the worldwide release of their new electric mower at the beginning of this year so we got one of them on trial.

"We're fortunate here that companies come to us and say, 'we're thinking of doing this, if we were to give you something would you play around with it?'. Sometimes companies come to us and say, 'see if you can break it'."

He said his staff would use it for a few weeks then go back to the manufacturer with suggestions for improvements.

Press Association

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