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Spencer praised for tree clearance work

Spencer praised for tree clearance work
maincrop-IMG_173522nd Jun 2015
Earlier this year, Spencer was called in to clear a row of 157 Pine trees from the side of the A487 trunk road in Aberystwyth. The work was carried out in less than three weeks, with minimal disruption to traffic and the adjacent landscape and the successful conclusion leading to the Spencer workforce being praised for its efforts.

In the storms of last winter, one of the then 157 mature Radiata Pines – each estimated to weigh in the region of seven-tonnes – growing along the sloping roadside embankment, blew over. In order to eliminate the risk of the same thing happening again, North & Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency ordered the remaining trees to be removed.

Such was the scale of the task and the volume of material being processed, initial preparations included an improved stone access road, the siting of welfare units, instigation of a traffic management scheme and the laying of timber mats across the nearby areas in order to reduce any ground damage that could be caused by moving plant and vehicles. Adding to the considerations, all of the work had to be carried out without causing major holdups on the busy road below and without damaging the surrounding landscape, as the area is listed as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

Once the infrastructure was in place the work began. Firstly, the branches on the side the trees would fall were removed by chainsaw operators working from a MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform). A strap was then placed around the tree and connected to a tractor-operated double-drum Igland winch that was positioned a safe distance away, with the operator in Bluetooth radio contact with the rest of the Spencer team. A highly-skilled and experienced chainsaw operator then made precise felling cuts at the foot of the tree, before it was pulled over in a controlled manner by the winch into a cleared area.

Once down, the remaining branches were removed and the stem cut into three-metre lengths, so the timber could be easily transported from the site to an interim holding area a short distance away. The timber was then taken to Spencer’s HQ, where it was stacked in order to be dried and then processed into biomass fuel. The branch material was chipped on site to become green biomass fuel, transported to the holding area and then reloaded into 11 bulk lorries for onward distribution.

The felling operation was repeated for all 156 remaining trees, before the site was completely cleared. In fact, due to the sensitivity of the area, not only was the wood and brash collected, even the discarded pine needles had to be removed.

With the project completed on time and on budget – and without a complaint or incident during the whole operation – the North & Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency congratulated Spencer on the successful out come and for a job well done.