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Will There be Food Shortages?

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plumbshop BrookshRecent years have seen many problems appearing that have negatively impacted food production, the latest being the terrible situation in the Ukraine. Food prices are likely to increase significantly, especially as Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s main suppliers of wheat. The conflict is expected to reduce exports meaning soaring costs for farms and food processors throughout the UK.

The price of gas needed to heat greenhouses and to produce fertiliser has also soared, prompting the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) to request urgent action. The NFU has asked the government for help to enable UK farmers to produce enough food. There is a risk of supermarkets and other food outlets not being able to meet customer demand. The NFU said: “The government must act now, with a clear signal that food security is a priority for the nation,”

There isn’t a quick end in sight for all the disruption to supply chains, food production, availability and affordability. There are worries that food production problems could last for years to come. The boss of one of the largest international fertiliser companies, Yara International warned of a shock to the global supply and cost of food. Escalating fuel prices will also mean people pay more in shops and restaurants.

Around 80% of the world’s sunflower oil and 20% of corn are produced in Russia and the Ukraine say the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Ukrainian workers account for 60% of the UK’s seasonal workers, their essential roles include planting, picking and grading produce. The NFU is urging the government to grant an additional 10,000 visas under the Seasonal Workers Scheme. The amount at present is 30,000. Some farmers are trying to be flexible by adjusting the way they do things to avoid shortages of wheat and barley.

Mark Spencer, commons Leader said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was “across the threats that we face”. He added: “There is no prospect of food shortages at any point in the future, and Defra are working with Treasury to try and make sure that that continues to be the case.”


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Is There a Use for Decommissioned Wind Turbine Blades?

Plumbing Supplies for House Builders, Refurbishing Contractors, Home Owners, Local Authorities, Tradesmen & Hoteliers


PlumbshopRhinosIt seems everywhere you look these days there are exciting innovations in carbon reduction technology. The latest surprising discovery is that recycled wind turbines can be used as a material for making ‘blade bridges’. There are as yet only two of these structures using repurposed wind turbine blades, one is in Poland and one in Ireland. This is not just an extremely novel idea, it represents a solution to a problem fast appearing on the horizon. Wind turbine blades are functional for around 20 to 25 years, after which time they are replaced. Although wind turbine blades look majestic from a distance, once they are decommissioned they take up huge amounts of landfill space. These blades are around 150 feet in length and weigh dozens of tons per blade.

Approximately 85% of wind turbine components can be reused or recycled, as they are made up of copper wire, steel, electronics and gearing materials. The rest, including the blades, are composed of fibre glass which present a waste disposal problem. The blade’s sturdy, fiber reinforced plastics do not break down easily, and incineration creates further pollution.

Civil engineer Kieran Ruane, a lecturer at Ireland’s Munster Technological University, saw the concept of bridges built from these blades as ‘immediately appealing’. He says: “It was a no-brainer that this needed to be investigated and trialled at least.” Ruane is also a member of Re-Wind, the research network behind Ireland’s new blade bridge.

Due to properties such as lightweightness, strength and weather resistance, the blades are ideal as engineering support structures. When used to form blade bridges wind turbine blades can last at least a hundred years. Public comments about the bridges have been 80 to 90% positive with some finding the appearance to be a bit strange. There are hopes that these blades will eventually be put to other uses such as contemporary and stylish outdoor furniture.

Rhinos Plant Hire are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year, and this is just one of the many innovations they’ve witnessed in that time!



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Home Heating Oil Prices

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Home Heating OilOne consequence of Coronavirus is the fact that the price of home heating oil has dropped considerably as a result of crude oil prices globally. In fact in Northern Ireland home heating oil prices are hitting a record low, and in the UK prices dropped from 45p per litre in March to 22p by April 2020. However according to the Business Insider website, demand for oil is likely to rebound sharply in 2021, surpassing levels in 2019. You know what this means. Order soon!

Recently oil prices have been lower than in 2009, which brings some comfort to households who have lost income due to Covid 19. Many people are stuck at home in freezing weather, so being able to heat their homes cheaply will be a great relief. In Northern Ireland, 68% of homes rely on home heating oil and the UK has 1.3 million households for whom this is their only form of heating.

Keep Your Oil Tank in Good Condition

Summertime is usually the best time to buy heating oil with lower prices and less demand, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on prices generally. Buying in bulk cuts out additional delivery costs, and if you are soon to replace your tank you might consider a larger size. It pays to make sure your oil tank is in good condition too, and avoid overfilling which could result in spillage. Oil spills can damage floors and other areas, and can be expensive to clean up. Have the tank and any connecting pipework looked over, perhaps at the same time as getting your boiler serviced.

Secure Your Oil Tank

Rural or remote areas are major users of home heating oil, meaning protection from theft needs to be a consideration. This oil is an expensive commodity, and is often the focus of thieves, who not only steal the oil but damage the tank and leave spilled oil. Use strong padlocks on filler caps, have tanks where they can be seen, install lighting with motion sensors and maybe fit CCTV.

Order home heating oil safely and quickly from home by going to the Wise Oil website.



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Bathroom Changes Ahead

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The current crisis has prompted us to rethink the way we do things, particularly regarding hygiene, which has in the past left a lot to be desired. Sensible advice is coming at us from all directions about washing hands, wearing masks and staying 2 metres apart. Certain places are a priority for change and this includes public toilets, whether in shopping centres, restaurants or hotels. Health experts, architects and designers have recently been pointing out how flawed this whole area is. There are widespread calls for strict building codes and innovative designs to reduce risk of spreading infection.

Some ideas include sensor taps, no touch entrances/exits and totally self cleaning toilets. The World Health Organization has joined the chorus of voices calling for a change in the design of public bathrooms. There is some really useful general advice on their website to keep yourself safe. Many structural upgrades can be completed by a competent DIYer with tools or equipment hired in Ipswich from companies such as Rhinos Plant Hire.

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The Need for Medical Refrigeration

Independent Plumbing & Heating Specialists, Reputable Supplier of High Quality Bathroom Products


Unless you have been living on another planet for the last few months, you will be aware that we have been going through a bit of a global situation to put it mildly! The coronavirus crisis has meant that effective refrigeration is even more crucial than usual, particularly within the medical industry. Temperature controlled environments are essential when storing vaccines, medical equipment, medicine, samples and other vulnerable supplies.

There is consequently a rise in demand for temperature control facilities and medical units, which will only increase as the summer approaches. Ongoing testing for a solution to the COVID 19 virus is vital and all sectors are being called on to support the healthcare industry. Medical cooling systems are required for laboratories, hospitals and healthcare clinics nationally.

As research continues to look at medical combinations in an effort to tackle the virus, and provide longed for results, emergency refrigeration is a must. There is a definite requirement for reliable, high performance refrigeration to ensure that test kits etc are stored safely and securely. With cooling units and systems in place, tests can be carried out and processed without issue. The need for items such as medical cabinets has grown significantly over the last few months.

Apart from the current situation, hospitals etc also need refrigerated units and cabinets for storage of medicines and tests unrelated to COVID. These facilities must be reliable, safe and secure.

Refrigeration specialists such as Marcold Refrigeration and Air Conditioning are experienced in supplying medical refrigeration units of the highest standard. They are also highly skilled when it comes to servicing and maintaining refrigeration facilities, and are happy to advise. Customers can order medical cabinets and other cooling units online from Marcold for a fast solution. For information give them a call on 01253 839800


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Feeling Hot Hot Hot!

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According to NASA scientists and many other experts, temperatures are increasing each decade. The UK has experienced this, and over the past few summers desk fans have sold out meaning people have had to endure uncomfortable and sticky environments. Luckily most workplaces have high quality air conditioning systems from specialists like Turn Key Air Conditioning, which alleviate the situation somewhat. This is helpful in a number of ways, as another study released by NASA found that productivity in the workplace falls by 3.6% for every degree over 22C.

Being used to a pretty temperate climate here in the UK, air conditioning is not as common as in warmer climates. This could begin to change however, as people realise the benefits of staying cool in work during the summer months. In this country we are not as well prepared as we could be for more frequent heatwaves. For instance : –

  • Homes, especially flats in the UK are designed to be thermally efficient, which is very welcome when the weather is cold and damp. Apparently homes in north Africa and the Middle East were configurated around a central courtyard assisting with air flow.
  • Infrastructures suffer during excessive hot weather, as for instance rail tracks can buckle when the metal expands. This would cause chaos for busy rail networks, with hold ups and cancellations Countries that typically have much hotter weather, use a differently designed system to avoid this.
  • Our road surfaces can become affected with heat, occasionally bringing traffic to a standstill as emergency re-surfacing is carried out.
  • Lots more swimming pools whether public or private are available in hot countries, where people can cool down and escape the heat. Outdoor pools are even better in the summer, why not consider having a small one in your garden?
  • Cafés and restaurants are usually indoors in this country, and staff are sometimes forced to move tables and chairs outside where they are able.
  • Outdoor drinking fountains are a familiar site in parts of the US and Italy, but there are a scant amount here in the UK.
  • People in hotter countries cope with the midday heat by taking a ‘siesta’, and working later into the evening. Other efforts to avoid the warmest part of the day includes starting work at sunrise.

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Ace Your Space

Independent Plumbing & Heating Specialists, Reputable Supplier of High Quality Bathroom Products


A small space doesn’t mean you can’t have the bathroom you dream of, and there are several ways to make it work perfectly. By applying a little know-how, you can have a bathroom that is attractive, stylish and practical. One of the advantages that smaller bathrooms have over larger ones, is that due to their size, they can be modified more often without breaking the bank. This allows you to be brave and take risks, as you can easily change a look that isn’t working for you. There are ways of making a compact bathroom seem much more spacious, that work really well. These include:-


Mirrors will always make a room feel bigger and brighter, so placing several on the bathroom walls will bring surprising results. Mirror tiles are another option and will create an impressive illusion of space.

Light Colours

A simple way to get the feel of a bigger bathroom, is to keep the colour scheme basic and natural. Light, soft colours will give a great outcome, and you can add a feature wall with either patterned wallpaper, or a vibrant, deep colour. Matching towels and rugs in pretty shades etc look great against a plain backdrop. Or try a mural!

Functional Furniture

Buy a few pieces of bathroom storage furniture, to keep the space neat, tidy and clutter free. Clever stacking shelves can be used for towels and under sink cupboards are good for shampoos or cleaning products.

Walk-in Showers

Rather than a bath, walk-in showers with frameless panels are trendy, and can save space and provide a larger area to move about in.

Shortening a Room

A bathroom that is too tall and narrow will benefit from a slightly darker colour at the top and lighter bottom half, perhaps tongue and groove panelling.

Vinyl Floor Tiles

Rather than carpet, Vinyl flooring is practical, fresh feeling and water repellent. It’s also likely to be quite pocket friendly, and you may even get an off-cut for your small bathroom.

There are lots of other ways to have a fabulous bathroom, if you fancy a total change why not ask the experts at SJP Building Services?

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The Wonder of Water

Independent Plumbing & Heating Specialists, Reputable Supplier of High Quality Bathroom Products

Most of us love being in water, whether in the bath, at a spa or at the public swimming pool. It’s relaxing, fun and promotes a great feeling of wellbeing, the main feature of your holiday hotel is usually the pool! Apart from having a wonderful time splashing about, swimming is well established as an incredibly effective way to keep fit!

It is recommended by doctors, physiotherapists and weight loss specialists. Swimming exercises just about every part of the body in the gentlest way, and keeps you fit and healthy. Being in water is very therapeutic, and this is particularly true for those who have mobility issues, it lifts the mood and promotes happy feelings.

In ancient times, the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans were aware of the esoteric medicinal properties of water, and utilised it throughout their day. Hydrotherapy is used worldwide to this day as an aid to health, as water therapy renders the body weightless, and can ease pain and discomfort. Floating in warm water creates an incredibly soothing sensation all over the body, and is the ultimate relaxation experience.

It may also help with the healing of various injuries and conditions by reducing inflammation. It is used to stimulate bodily functions too, which is why many people suffering from a wide range of conditions are advised to try thermal baths, saunas, therapy pools and steam rooms.

Spa holidays are a much loved break, in order to receive the maximum advantage of being immersed in water. More and more people are installing their own hydrotherapy pools up and down the UK. This allows them to linger in their own therapy pool as often and for as long as they wish, without the added stress of getting to the nearest public facility and waiting in queues.

An regular clean and service by pool specialists is all this type of therapy solution needs. Pool Maintenance Ltd, deliver an outstanding service with supply, installation, cleaning, maintenance and repair of all kinds of pools. They cater to a wide variety of domestic and commercial clients as well as to local authorities.


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Clean, Safe and Comfortable Swimming Pools

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Working with water can be challenging, especially where it has to be kept clean and bacteria free in the case for instance of swimming pools. Pumps are crucial to the performance of a pool as well as the health and safety of those using it. Without a good quality filter pump, bacteria and dirt will stay in the pool and cause a number of issues. They spell trouble, expense and can provide a breeding ground for disease.

Inevitably, a swimming pool which is regularly used by members of the public, and even privately owned pools to some extent will collect copious amounts of insects, grime and bodily fluids. All of which can cause problems and need specialist care and attention. Water balance is quite a complex aspect of swimming pools also, and one which is not always fully understood by pool owners. It is however essential for comfort, safety and avoidance of corrosion, which is why balance tank cleaning should not be overlooked.

If water balance is incorrect the pH will be affected possibly resulting in skin and eye problems. This will also interfere with the capacity to deal with germs and limit bacteria growth. Corrosion to ladders, liners, hand rails and equipment such as pumps is another risk factor where water balance is compromised.

High alkaline water causes a high pH and low alkaline water leads to low pH, so the average swimming pool should have an alkalinity reading of 100 ppm. All pools have the issue of dissolved minerals becoming concentrated once water evaporates. This can mean that chemical additives struggle to work properly, and the formation of stains is the outcome.

Pool Maintenance Ltd are specialists in all aspects of swimming pool maintenance, and have completed many successful projects whether it’s a full refurbishment and update or supply and installation of high performance pumps and other parts. They are available for consultations on 01457 765533, and love a challenge!

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Warm, Cosy Surroundings with Underfloor Heating

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ken doerrIt is no surprise that underfloor heating is growing in popularity all over the UK, and that we are quickly catching up to the Scandinavian countries. In Scandinavia, known for its low temperatures, 80% of homes are heated in this way. Underfloor heating is ideal for new build properties, extensions, conversions or refurbishments and in cases where a new floor is planned. Advances in the design and technology of underfloor heating have also resulted in an increasingly more compact and efficient system. Heat rises up uniformly into every part of the building where installed, giving an overall comfort as opposed to lingering mainly in the area of the radiators.

This form of heating has a number of practical advantages in addition to toasty warm toes 24/7, which have prompted many to consider installing it. Underfloor heating:-

  • Is relatively cost effective to install and run
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Allows floors to dry quickly after cleaning
  • Produces no noise
  • Means energy savings of 15 ÔÇô 40% can be achieved
  • Provides evenly distributed warmth
  • Is practically self regulating
  • Produces no dust or moisture , which in turn discourages dust mites
  • Frees up room space due to absence of radiators
  • Has a lower running temperature than radiators [depending on type of system] and heats to around 25oC
  • Is robust and long lasting

Underfloor heating can be connected to renewable power sources such as solar panels or air source heat pumps for incredible savings on fuel costs. This environmentally friendly solution can save money all year round, while lowering the homes carbon footprint. If these options appeal to you and you wish to join the multitude of homes within the UK benefiting from this technology, take a look at the SJB Mechanical and Building Services Ltd website. Their specialities include heating, air conditioning, plumbing and air source heat pump installation. They also have a great reputation for reliability, excellent customer service and can be contacted on 01277 823648.

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