We were notified of a Spruce bark beetle infestation on the site which, if left uncontrolled, could result in severe damage to the timber trees in the surrounding area. Euroforest were called in to fell the affected trees but were unable to work within the red zone (2 tree lengths from the powerline). Furthermore, the line itself is not easy to shutdown for work meaning that the desired solution would ensure it remained live while the issue was resolved.
The work was crucial as this powerline is the main supply to Gatwick Airport, which serves up to 450 planes and around 60,000 passengers departing each day.
Our team needed to fell all trees in the red zone as quickly and as safely as possible, working effectively to reduce risk to the powerline. To do so, we:
Used 2 x 14 ton excavators with tree sheer and grapple saw
Use chainsaw & tractor mounted winch for trees not deemed suitable for mechanical felling
Use excavator with grapple to move and stack trees outside of the red zone
The job comes with multiple hazards that all need considering and controlled. Prior to starting on site a detailed method statement was produced taking into account all risks, this is used to plan the work in the safest possible way. See below some of the main hazards on site.
Hazard: Once felling commences it exposes remaining trees to wind
Control: Only start felling when weather conditions are suitable. Fell all trees as quickly as possible using two tree sheers and winch tractor/chainsaw
Hazard: 132kv Live conductors
Control: All operatives qualified experienced and authorised to work on network. Approved techniques strictly followed to ensure safety remains priority.
A note from Euroforrest:
“Euroforest was instructed to fell, process and extract spruce timber from Oldhouse Warren in response to the presence of Ips typographus and a subsequent Statutory Plant Health Notice. As a professional harvesting company and member of the Forest Industry Safety Accord, Euroforest complies with the industry standards for working next to power lines. In this instance, the power lines could not be de-energised meaning that, whilst conventional harvesting was appropriate for most of the worksite, it could not be carried out in a defined area adjacent to the power lines (called the red zone). Wilson Tree Surgery, on behalf of UKPN, carried out the tree felling within the red zone and worked in conjunction with Euroforest’s harvesting machines to ensure an efficient and effective harvesting operation completed within the time constraints of the Statutory Plant Health Notice.”
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