Drainage specialist marks three decades of growth

Curzon Street HS2 liner installation

Drainage and wastewater specialist Lanes Group plc is gearing up to mark its 30th anniversary with a programme of activities throughout 2022 to celebrate the achievements of its teams and raise money for its charities.

The company, famous for its bright pink branding, began as a one depot drainage company in Leeds, West Yorkshire, in November 1992, employing 15 people with a turnover under £500,000.

It now operates 20 depots, 11 utility hubs, and five specialist service centres, employs more than 2,200 people, and has an annual turnover of over £215m, making it the UK’s largest drainage and wastewater specialist.

Lanes Managing Director Wayne Earnshaw, said: “It’s exciting to have contributed to Lanes’ transformation over the last three decades and I strongly believe there are many more successful years to come.

“What began with one small depot has become a company that, every day, solves the UK’s biggest drainage and wastewater challenges. With highly-skilled and committed teams using the most sophisticated drain maintenance technologies in the world.”

Wayne Earnshaw’s father, Allan Earnshaw, and Graham Tattersall triggered the company’s rapid development when they bought Lanes for Drains from its founder, John Lane.

Within five years, Lanes for Drains had expanded to South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the East Midlands, with 100 employees and a turnover that had shot up to £5m.

Through a process of careful acquisition, new depot openings and service development, the now rebranded Lanes Group has maintained that impressive and sustainable growth, while remaining a family-run business.

Wayne Earnshaw said: “Lanes is a business built on family values, where caring about the wellbeing of our people and supporting their success is important to us. It’s a reason why a good number of our colleagues have been with us for many years as Lanes has grown.

“We’re now looking forward to marking our 30th anniversary during 2022 by reflecting on how far we’ve come, and celebrating the work of the very many people who have contributed to our success, while giving back to the communities we serve.”

Lanes will also use the anniversary to thank Lanes teams for contribution as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – keeping the nation’s sewers flowing, and delivering vital drainage services to thousands of businesses and countless householders.

The company’s 30th anniversary plans include a major fundraising challenge that aims to turn the country Lanes pink, as teams from every depot will be invited to raise money for the company’s nominated charities.

Lanes is relied on by companies big and small, and many government organisations and public agencies, to deliver a comprehensive range of drainage services, which have won a string of industry awards.

It is also one of the UK’s largest wastewater maintenance service providers. Clients include Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water, Scottish Water, Wessex Water, Northumbrian Water and United Utilities.

Since 2014, Lanes has been the sole wastewater network services maintenance partner for Thames Water, the UK’s largest water company, delivering a broad range of services, including reactive sewer unblocking, planned sewer cleaning, sewer lining, tankering and waste management.

Lanes has won international recognition and multiple awards for its innovative approach to service delivery for Thames Water, which has included ground-breaking safety systems and the world’s first 365-degree virtual reality training theatre.

In 2019, it backed its strong support for sustainable business and environmental protection by launching Unblocktober, the world’s first month-long action campaign to safeguard sewers, rivers and oceans.

Every October since then, Unblocktober has persuaded thousands of people to take time not to dispose of damaging fats, oils and grease (FOG) and plastics, including wipes, down sinks and toilets.

Other key milestones include:

  • In 1998, the creation of the Lanes Rail Division, which now operates a £multi-million contract delivering drainage and FM services for Transport for London, as well as working for Network Rail, Crossrail and HS2;
  • In 2007, the launch of a new national sewer rehabilitation and lining division, based in Manchester, which delivers lining services across the UK, and is a leader in ultraviolet CIPP lining;
  • In 2015, the acquisition of AQS Environmental Solutions in Ireland, Lanes’ first non-UK investment, with AQS going on to enjoy its own success, expanding and growing its services.

In 2020, Lanes launched its latest business venture, setting up Lanes Infrastructure to deliver excavation and ducting installation services for the broadband industry.

The Lanes-i launch has been a big success, with the business building a rapidly growing portfolio of contracts, aided by an innovative business model that combines digital operational systems with industry-leading safety and quality standards.

 

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