Holiday In The London Countryside?

Experience a touch of country relaxation just a few miles from the capital

The idea of experiencing some rural relaxation a mere stone’s throw from one of the country’s busiest motorways and barely a dozen miles from central London seems almost fanciful – but a Hertfordshire hotel set in 35 acres of parkland with its own arboretum offers guests just that.

For business stays requiring an oasis of calm and relaxation amidst a hectic schedule, or for leisure breaks taking in the attractions of London and the surrounding area, the West Lodge Park hotel in Hadley Wood is ideal.

This country retreat in Hertfordshire offers a full range of luxury hotel facilities in a setting combining the benefits of the peace and tranquillity of the countryside with close proximity to not only a capital city but excellent road, rail and air links.

Your home from home

The West Lodge Park is a family run hotel providing comprehensive facilities including various types of room accommodation, several dining options, conferencing, packages such as golf stays, dinner and concert deals and even a bee keeping day.

Amongst the arboretum’s 4500 trees are over 800 species that can be sampled any time by guests whether just wandering through it or taking a guided tour, and this coupled with the picturesque landscape will make it hard to believe you’re so close to major transport links and London itself.

Holiday time?

Sometimes finding time for a relaxing break can be difficult, but being able to get to somewhere like the West Lodge Park quickly by road, rail or air means a few spare days can soon be turned into a relaxing break.

The type of break can be tailored very easily; maybe something simple is called for with the flexibility to do what you like?

If so a day or two relaxing and wondering the grounds may be enough. If you fancy something more organised then choose from the hotel’s activities as mentioned above including guided arboretum tours, bee keeping days, shopping packages and more.

Your time

You may fancy formal dining or the option to eat in a more informal setting or even in a private dining room; the West Lodge Park offers all this and more including champagne breakfasts and afternoon tea.

The highest standards

The West Lodge Park backs up its comprehensive hotel facilities with high levels of service; many of its staff have worked for the family run concern for several years, and it’s an AA and RAC four star establishment so you know you’re in the hands of hospitality specialists.

Convenience

A key attribute of a stay at the West Lodge Park is convenience combined with a rural-like experience, and to this end its location near Hadley Wood puts it a few miles from the M25 motorway and close to other major road links such as the A1 and M11.

Three international airports are within easy reach just off the above major motorways in Luton, Stansted and Heathrow and there’s plenty of parking including charging points for electric vehicles.

Coming by helicopter? No problem as there’s a free to use helipad.

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How To Be Greener and Still Save Money

The Changes to Make in 2019

If you want to lead by example and live in a more environmentally friendly way, you should consider switching to renewable energy.

If there’s one thing that’s been on everyone’s lips this year, it’s the environment. From plastic pollution to the Californian wildfires that have been linked to climate change, it’s clear that our actions are having a really profound impact on the world that we live in. So, here’s how you can be greener – and save some cash at the same time!

Get in touch with the industry leaders

If you are curious about how renewable energy could work for you, then it’s important to get in touch with one of the leading names in the field. Terra Therma are one of the most trusted renewable energy systems specialists. One of their renewable energy experts will be able to advise you on which system will work best for your property in Essex or the South East.

Safe and quick installation

As a nation we are growing much more aware of how our energy consumption can harm the world around us, and there’s been a really big rise in demand for renewable energy as a result. Terra Therma have an ever-growing range of options to suit every home or business in Essex. Their years of knowledge and expertise mean that they will be able to complete any work quickly and to the highest possible health and safety standards.

The initial outlay pays off

If you are prepared to invest at first, you will reap the rewards later. A lot people are put off powering their homes with green energy because of the money they would need to spend to install all the necessary technology. It really does pay for itself though. While you are paying – probably not as much as you would expect – for your new renewable energy systems up front, you will soon notice the drop in your annual bills.

Playing the long game

Going green with your energy is something that you will appreciate as time goes on. Not only will your bills drop more with each passing year, but you will make less and less of an impact on the world around you. Yes, it may just be you at first, but renewable energy could soon catch on with your neighbours – and after that, who knows? Making the switch to a more green energy source shows that you’re thinking about the bigger picture, and aren’t afraid to wait to see your efforts pay off.

Short-term changes

It goes without saying that switching to renewable energy is a big step, and it’s definitely more of a long-term solution. So as well as doing that, make some small changes that are going to make a difference right now. Not paying for plastic bags at the supermarket and taking your own instead will help to reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans – and save you a few pennies. Making the effort to line-dry your washing and buying your food locally will cost you less and reduce energy and fuel usage too.

Will you go green in 2019?

Making the choice to live in a more environmentally way is so rewarding, and it’s a lot easier than you think too. Terra Therma are on hand to answer any questions that you may have about switching to renewable energy, and there are so many little things you can do each day to live a little greener. We only have one world after all – so let’s be kinder to it next year.

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Retrofitting Existing Street Lights With LED Can Save Money

Newer lighting tech drastically reduces energy use and emissions

Amongst the various concerns governments and environmentalists have regarding saving energy and reducing emissions, street lighting burning electricity every evening and increasing our carbon footprint is a key concern.

An alternative lighting technology to the common and very old sodium lighting type widely used is LED, and more areas UK and world-wide are embracing it.

The energy and environmental lighting issue

The widely used sodium lighting in our towns and cities is, by modern standards, expensive and inefficient and costs many cities and towns an average of 40% of their total electricity bill.

Costs are further increased through their need to be replaced on average every three to six years so making for a hefty maintenance bill for local authorities.

Governments are setting high energy use and emissions targets that older lighting technology simply can’t meet, so LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is seen as the way forward.

Many local authorities have moved at least part of the way over to LED with lighting conversion programmes in full swing (see below) with more to follow with street lighting specialists finding themselves being booked years ahead to do the work.

LED – cheaper and more efficient

LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular and widespread thanks to its energy efficiency and longevity; it’s becoming more common in automotive applications as more cars and other vehicles sport LED lights, and many homes and businesses now have at least some LED lighting.

LED offers a number of benefits:

  • Long life – LED lights last around 20-25 years compared to just three to six for conventional lighting so saving on replacement and maintenance costs
  • More focussed – LED lights are more focused so improving night visibility and reducing light spillage
  • Low energy consumption – saving power and emissions
  • Safer – LED lights don’t contain toxic materials such as lead and mercury
  • Vast cost savings – energy bills and maintenance costs could reduce by as much as 90%
  • More robust – LED lights are more durable and robust than older lighting types

How much can LED help save money and reduce emissions?

The short answer is ‘considerably.’ Both in the UK and worldwide significant benefits have already been seen with LED lighting conversions:

  • In Boston, USA, the city saves some $2.8 million (£2.1 million) each year in electricity having converted 40% of its street lights in 2012. When taking into account reduced maintenance costs the ‘break even’ point was reached around three years later.
  • In Portsmouth the majority of street lights are being replaced with LED; savings are expected to be around £400,000 per year with a 40% reduction in energy used.
  • In Brighton, an LED street light replacement project began in 2017 to replace 18,000 lights; the expected energy savings are in the region of £200,000 per year with a projected energy consumption and carbon emissions reduction of just over 60%.
  • In Manchester, the City Council commenced a project to replace the city’s 56,000 street lights with LED tech. When completed in 2020, the savings are likely to in the region of £1.7 million per year with emissions reductions of 7,500 tonnes.

Further savings and emissions reductions necessary

Although LED lighting clearly saves considerably on energy use and reduces emissions considerably, in itself this won’t be enough to meet strict energy consumption and emissions targets.

In order to boost savings and reduce emissions, LED lighting will combine with tech such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) to create ‘intelligent’ street lighting such as this Future Cities demonstration project in Glasgow .

This tech can control when lighting is switched on and off, when it’s dimmed, how much it’s dimmed by, and alter lights through using motion sensors to detect movement and activity and switch lighting on or brighten it when needed.

This will help not only make for more useful lighting for various situations (for example lights coming on in daylight when there’s heavy fog) but contribute to more cost savings and reduced emissions.

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How To Protect Your Business From Rats and Other Pests

How to help prevent rats and other pests from invading your business premises; preventing pests accessing food, water and shelter. Spotting an invasion.

Ways to help ensure your business only plays host to intended visitors

Pests of all types from common flies to perhaps the most disliked of all – rats – can cause a considerable disruption to business activities especially those involved in catering or food preparation in any way. Taking steps to keep the pests at bay will literally pay off.

The rat and other pest threats

In general, if you inadvertently provide a welcoming environment for rats and other pests, they’ll soon take you up on your unintended invitation.

In general terms, pests are attracted to environments where food, water and a degree of warm shelter is provided, so denying them these basics will minimise the risk of infestation.

Quite apart from it being unpleasant to have pests such as rats in your midst, many spread diseases and can cause damage and disruption. Rats are especially nasty visitors; they can cause much damage through gnawing through wiring, plaster and some steel – and they spread diseases harmful to humans such as Weil’s Disease and salmonella poisoning.

The bad news is their numbers are growing in the UK.

Preventing a rat visit

Basically, it’s denying food, water and shelter. Here are the main preventative measures to take:

Water – rats don’t need much water; between 15 and 60 ml a day is enough but they do need to drink each day. A shallow pool of standing water or a dripping outside tap is enough to attract them.

Food – rats are known for eating just about anything, so all types if foodstuffs should be denied them.

Don’t leave food lying around and keep it in secure containers. Even the remnants of a sandwich left lying around in the office rest area is an attraction to a rat.

Ensure waste bins in and around your premises are emptied frequently – especially those containing food debris.

Ensure outside bins are closed securely at all times and don’t let them become over-filled; beware leaving plastic sacks of rubbish in accessible locations, and any food debris should be cleared from outside areas as soon as possible.

Shelter – rats and other rodents are very nimble and can squeeze into small gaps so easily entering a premises via a small hole or other vulnerability.

Check your premises doesn’t have any obvious gaps in brickwork, roofing or elsewhere; if it does, get them repaired or filled properly. Beware pipe and drainage weak spots; rats can swim up pipes so any damaged pipework may need repairing.

An experienced local expert such as this Southend pest control service in Essex can help prevent pest threats by assessing your premises and pointing out vulnerabilities.

Have you already got a rat infestation?

You may already have unwelcome visitors to your business premises. A few ways to spot if you have:

Noises – a scratching coming from the roof area could indicate an invasion. Some rats are adept climbers and can get into roof spaces quite easily.

Tracks and footprints – these can be identified in dustier areas.

Marks on walls and skirting – rats tend to scuttle along close to walls and surfaces such as skirting boards, so can leave streaks on these surfaces from their dirty fur.

Burrow areas – some rats dig burrows to nest, shelter and store food. These tend to be in outdoor areas such as gardens, but if your business premises has an outdoor area and you spot grooves and holes dug into the surface it’s a sign that rats may be present.

Get help fast

A visit from a few rats can soon turn into a multitude as they breed very quickly, so if you are concerned about rats whether from a preventative point of view or you think or know you already have them, then talk to local pest control experts straight away.

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Human Error Leads to £500million Pension Mistake

Telecommunications giant BT says its external consultant is to blame for the latest in a string of accounting errors and scandals.

It seems that barely a week goes by without another big employer announcing a major hole in its pension provisions. The latest to do so has been BT, but the news comes with a twist in the tail, as the deficit of £3.4 billion reported at the end of June has been found to have been understated by half a billion pounds.

Every organisation relies on a solid relationship with its business accountants and auditors, and this is as much the case for the nation’s giants as it is for small businesses. Failing to pick up on an accounting scandal in Italy led to BT ending its 34 year relationship with PWC and appointing KPMG on a new deal worth £14.8 million earlier this year. After completing their final BT audit for the 2017/18 fiscal year, PWC officially handed over to KPMG, a move formally approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in 2018.

The latest in a sequence of financial scandals

In October 2016, BT acknowledged that a preliminary internal investigation into accounting practices in its Italian division revealed certain accounting errors requiring reassessment. According to some reports, these violations amounted to a misstatement of around £145 million. However, an independent investigation led by KPMG and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer revealed that the losses stemming from these errors actually amounted to £530 million.

The KPMG study also highlighted instances of collusion, circumvention of claims and other aspects of mismanagement within the Italian division of BT, which had not been identified by the lead auditor. These had resulted in the distortion of financial results for a number of years.

The audit report became a guide for corrective action, and BT management committed to improving its management systems, not just in Italy, but also in other countries. The scandal led to a number of senior employees being removed from their posts as part of the clean-up. With the scandal so fresh in everyone’s memory, this latest crisis could not have come at a worse time.

What went wrong?

According to reports in both The Times and The Daily Telegraph, BT’s Chief Financial Officer, Simon Lowth, said the latest incident was a result of “an isolated human error” in calculations made by independent actuary Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Lowth said the error represents less than one percent of BT’s total pension liabilities, which stand at about £57 billion.

BT went on to confirm that this error will not affect its income, cashflow or dividend payouts this year – this will come as a relief in some quarters, given that the Italian debacle of two years ago cost the CEO of the time some £4million in bonus payments.

A representative from Willis Towers Watson said only that it employs the most stringent of controls to ensure the accuracy of its calculations, and that this was a one-off error that has now been corrected.

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Corporate Team Building Brings Out The True Personalities Of Your Staff

Let The Individuals Shine Within A Fun Team Setting

Understanding the personality types that make up your workforce, and using team bonding activities to get the most of their unique character traits.

The teams in your workplace are made up of a wide variety of personalities. Coming from all walks of life, with different religions, genders and backgrounds, your employees may not naturally choose to spend time together in any setting other than the workplace. Yet, together they must work as a team, all striving to produce results for your organisation. The difficulty is that personalities can clash and cause conflict, which may spell disaster for your bottom line. So how can you help your team to bond effectively, whilst allowing the individual personalities of your team to shine? The answer is with corporate team building.

Identifying Personality Types In The Workplace

Many of the personalities that you come across in the office can be grouped into the following categories:

Ambitious – keen to be a leader, with a view to promotion in the near future, this personality wants to shine by being the ‘best’ at every task. Whilst their aims are often in line with the vision of the company, it can be tricky to manage an ambitious employee if they’re happy to step on the toes of their colleagues.

Introverts – often the people to shy away from after-work drinks, the quieter members of your team may actually be some of the most hard-working and pillars of your organisation.

Ego – similar to the ambitious type, those with an ego love to stand out, but you may find that they take credit for work and ideas that were generated by their fellow team-members.

The Ticking Time-Bomb – many organisations have a red-faced employee who is always close to boiling point. Whilst it is important that staff have passion towards achieving company goals, it’s essential that angry employees are dealt with carefully so that they don’t affect the reputation of your business or the mood of your other employees.

Negative Ninny – some people are natural worriers, but unfortunately their anxiety can spread and lower staff morale across your organisation. Positive communication is key here.

How Corporate Team Building Can Help

If you’re looking for activities to bring all of your varying office personality types together, aiming to reach the same goal, whilst having barrels of fun along the way – then corporate team building is an excellent investment. If you’re looking for corporate team building ideas in London for example, then you won’t be disappointed. Whether you’re looking to host a team day at your offices, in one of London’s spacious parks, or hit the streets for a challenge, there are countless ways to bring your team together. Choose from activities such as Urban Art for a creative exercise, an indoor Crystal Maze challenge to work on logic and time-challenges, or a Trading Floor experience to hone those investor skills.

The key to this type of corporate bonding experience is to break up your staff into teams that allow each member to offer their individual skills to the group. If you’re looking to uplift the mood of a negative ninny, then put them in charge of PR for the day and express the need to convey a positive message. Alternatively, an ego-driven employee should be encouraged to cheer on their fellow teammates.

Give corporate team-building a go, and you’ll be amazed at how it brings together the various personalities within your organisation.

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Why Your Fleet Needs 3M Graphics

Give your brand a boost with high quality vehicle branding

Branding your vehicle with quality 3M graphics can help you to improve your visibility, increase your reach and win new business.

Marketing and promotion can sometimes be a challenge for small businesses, particularly if there is not much budget available for this type of activity. However, there are some great cost-effective marketing tools out there which companies can harness to build their business, from email marketing and social media to direct mail and good old-fashioned word of mouth. One such tool is fleet vehicle branding, and an increasing number of companies are waking up to the potential of this promotional method to get their name in front of new customers.

Applying branded graphics to your company vehicle essentially turns them into moving billboards, and it is a low cost, high impact way to grab people’s attention and boost your brand visibility.

Choose 3M for quality

However, while fleet vehicle branding can be a really effective marketing tool, it’s important to remember that not all van graphics are created equal.

Branded vehicles can receive up to 3,000 views in an hour and for many people this will be the first and only contact they have had with your organisation. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s vital to ensure that your graphics are professional and good quality. A poor-quality finish will reflect negatively on your brand and could cause you to lose business so, to avoid this, always opt for high quality graphics that have been specifically designed and formulated for this purpose – such as those supplied by 3M graphics.

Science-based technology company, 3M, is a market leader in signage and vehicle graphics, and its clients can benefit from quality, durable materials, quick installation using adhesive technologies, and minimal removal and installation costs. Visually, the graphics themselves offer a striking, high quality and long-lasting finish, and will help to ensure that your company vehicles present your brand in the best possible light.

A network of suppliers

Finding the right supplier is also key to ensuring that your graphics look as good as they possibly can. 3M has a network of approved suppliers across the country, made up of companies who have a proven record in the graphics industry, have a thorough understanding of 3M graphic films and their application, and who have signed up to a high standard of graphic production.

By using an approved 3M partner you can also feel safe in the knowledge that you are putting your brand in safe hands. In order to be selected as a 3M Select Graphic Partner, companies have to meet rigorous standards when it comes to staff training, hardware and software components, the production environment, storage facilities and – most importantly – quality control. What’s more, with a 3M partner your graphics are manufactured under a 3M warranty, so you can be sure that your marketing investment is built to last.

Done well, fleet vehicle branding is one of the most effective ways of increasing your reach and winning new business. And with 3M graphics you can be sure that you are projecting a professional image that inspires confidence in both new and existing customers.

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