Meet Jason Knights, Managing Director at External Maintenance Business: Ground Control

Ground Control is an external maintenance business, committed to enhancing biodiversity and improving the physical environment, and has teams of biodiversity and ecology experts and landscape architects.

We have a strong commitment to sustainability, using technology and data to nurture environments and enable our customers to deliver on their environmental promises. Our mission is to unite the very best of people, places and planet to realise the potential of human nature at its best.
 
 
Ground Control - Utility Week Live 2022
 

What do you think makes this company unique?

 
In the UK, only 50% of our natural pre-industrial levels of biodiversity is left. The expansion of cities and industrial centres with little consideration for maintaining biodiversity means our natural wildlife is increasingly restricted to more remote areas of the country.

Ground Control is unique in that it is leading the development of biodiversity as an industry in the UK through the work we deliver for our clients’ outside spaces. Despite the likelihood of failing to build back biodiversity resulting in the acceleration of climate change, biodiversity remains an issue that regularly falls down the agenda with governments – the UN biodiversity summit COP-15 was delayed for a fourth time in March.

It is up to businesses to lead the way on making progress on biodiversity, and Ground Control is at the cutting edge of making this happen.
 

 

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

 
Before the pandemic, Ground Control focused on more traditional external maintenance – we offered services like winter gritting, landscape construction, design, arboriculture, electric vehicle charging point installation and more to more than 50,000 commercial properties across the UK.

While these services remain an important part of our business, we want to also focus on helping companies who made climate commitments in the aftermath of COP-26, but lack the resources or expertise to see them through independently.

A key moment was the passage of the Environment Act in 2021, which required all new developments to deliver 10% biodiversity net gain – i.e. leave biodiversity in a better state than it was found. Many of the companies we work with want to make progress on biodiversity, but are based in urban areas and therefore don’t have the facilities onsite to do so.
 

What can we hope to see from Ground Control in the future?

 
It’s certainly an exciting time to work for Ground Control. We recently achieved B Corp certification and have ambitions to double our turnover by 2026.

More importantly, we want to continue our journey to drive biodiversity across the UK using data, in the absence of consensus on industry standards.

We will continue to invest in new sustainable technologies through measures like the Evergreen Fund, which launched in 2020 and commits 5% of our annual net profits to supporting startups using cloud, software and hardware for sustainability and carbon sequestration.