Land & Water is one of the country’s leading names when it comes to flood defences. It boasts the largest fleet of specialist long reach excavators, dredging equipment and floating plant in the UK.
We reported in our news section recently how some of Land & Water's new JCB JS145 long reach excavators had been put to work on flood prevention schemes on Somerset Levels on behalf of the Environment Agency (pictured below).
Land & Water now has 14 JCB excavators in its fleet. Director Richard Maclean says: “The geometry of the arm is first class – providing good reach, excellent load over height and low transport position. We also like the fact that there is no diesel particulate filter, meaning the engines can be de-rated for export when the time comes to replace them. Operators like the cab environment which is light, spacious and very comfortable. We also particularly like the double safety isolating device.”
Land & Water also has one of the first Hitachi ZX85US-5 compact excavators fitted with a 10.3-metre long reach arm (pictured at top of page and below). It has been working for the Environment Agency in Kent, supplied through A-Plant. The short-tail swing Hitachi was used at various sites along the River Medway, rebuilding new waterway channels, de-silting, cutting weeds, removing trees, trenching and profiling to prevent further flooding.
Land & Water was instrumental in the development of this machine. It met Hitachi engineers last year to work up a specification.
“As soon as I had seen the drawings of the radius charts and lifting capacities of the proposed machine, I was confident to order our first batch of four units,” says Richard Maclean.
“Moving on from the Environment Agency’s strict plant standards, which came out in September 2013, nearly all of our customers now specify that we can only supply long-reach machines made directly by the manufacturer. These machines fit the bill perfectly. They have more reach and capacity than any similar model on the market, and we trust Hitachi to always produce an excellent machine.”
In addition to using only the latest manufacturer-supplied standard equipment, the Environment Agency insists on machines that can use bio oils in case of spills. The ZX85US-5 has Panolin biodegradable hydraulic oil to meet these requirements.
The ZX85US-5 demonstrated its capabilities at the East Peckham flood barrier in October. It was used to remove silt from a trap in the Coult stream, which is approximately two metres deep, to prevent the grills of the storage unit from blocking and the village of East Peckham from potential flooding.
Stuart Jones, foreman at the Environment Agency’s Yalding depot, says: “Working on soft ground next to a riverbank requires a light excavator with a long front attachment. The rubber tracks are low impact for this terrain and the 10-metre long reach makes it ideal – we’d like to hire it again next year. The operators like it as well, they tend to fight over it!”
Operators Lee Harris and Joe Coster were impressed by the performance of the Hitachi short-tail excavator and agreed on its number one benefit – smooth operation. “Compared to other excavators, it’s not as jerky and feels more stable,” Lee Harris says. “It’s also comfortable and I like the ergonomic controls – everything is within easy reach.”