Eric Wall and Hugh Stevenson bought Pollards Nursery back in 1977, in those days with just 2½ acres of existing widespan glass. Formerly a rose unit, the nursery was converted to specialise in tomatoes. Now, 35 years later, the nursery has grown to 28 acres on the original site in Barnham, West Sussex.
The joint founder, Eric Wall, retired from day to day involvement in 1999 and was succeeded as Managing Director by his son Chris who had entered the family business 15 years earlier, thereby carrying on the Wall family's association with tomato production in the UK.
Eric Wall Ltd has always been an innovative company, implementing the latest technology as appropriate.
In 2005, in response to rising energy costs, Eric Wall installed almost 40,000 sq metres of thermal screens in both venlo and transverse roof greenhouses, using SLS10 Ultra Plus energy saving material and the Huisman slipping clutch system. This combination ensured substantial energy saving with minimal light loss. (In transverse roof houses, the crop rows run at 90 deg to the East/West oriented glasshouse ridge - Dutch research indicates that this orientation is best for tomatoes.)
2008 saw the first fixed block thermal screens installed in the original widespan houses using Phormitex material, and these proved such a success that Eric Wall rolled out the solution in a further 6 widespan houses, giving a total of almost 20,000 sq m in widespans.
Overall, the company has achieved 29% energy savings due to their screens and better use of their environmental control system.
Care for the environment
Being conscious of the environment, Eric Wall are very keen to avoid wastage of irrigation water and fertiliser, and in 2011 commissioned CMW to supply and install a new irrigation system to deliver the irrigation solution and to collect and pasteurise the run-off water in their latest 24,000 sq metre greenhouse.
3 epoxy lined vertical storage tanks with covers were also installed as part of that project, having the advantage of greater reliability and longevity compared with equivalent butyl lined galvanised steel tanks.