Unigro builds unique research facility at RHS Wisley.

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In May RHS Wisley received its fully commissioned GroDome.

A state-of-the-art field research facility has been formally opened at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, designed and built by Unigro, the market leader provider of controlled environmental technologies.

The new facility, which was opened by David Bellamy OBE, will be used to carry out research into disease and pests in garden plants, to help the RHS provide advice on how to control pests and diseases.

The project was completed on time and on budget and Unigro hope that this will lead to a long association with RHS Wisley for many years. The facility has been designed to meet sustainable and economic energy requirements, providing 365 day uninterrupted operation. There are individual chambers that are independently controlled to provide an array of climate-parameters to aid with different research requirements.

Other features of the facility include:

• Lobby – pressurised area to prevent ingress of airborne plant pests and pathogens

• Research chambers – equipped with supplementary lighting to extend day length

• Pressurised access corridor providing secondary containment

• A building management system to control all mechanical operations and record continual internal environment data

• A coolth tank constructed within the foundations assists with sustainable energy and provides a failsafe system should mechanical failure occur

Keith Hamp, Managing Director at Unigro, said: “We’re delighted to have been involved in this project, providing a facility which is first of its kind, using innovative technology, designed to further the understanding of plant pests and diseases in the UK. The team has worked to high calibre specifications, designing a state-of-the-art resource for the team at RHS Wisley. We look forward to continue working with the team as they begin to bed-in the new facility.”

Dr Roger Williams, RHS Head of Science said: “The construction of the charity’s Field Research Facility at Wisley Garden has only been made possible through the generosity of a wide range of donors who share our passion for gardening. We are now looking forward to starting the first of a programme of science projects to help the nation’s gardeners keep one step ahead of the pests, diseases and other challenges thrown at them.”