“The Arboriculture team completed the vegetation clearance work to a high standard with excellent adherence to standards and paperwork.”
Graham Talbot, Head of Arboriculture
RSS Infrastructure worked in collaboration with a Network Rail Tier 1 contractor to undertake 800m x 15m lineside vegetation clearance to allow embankment stabilisation works to be completed.
- Vegetation management
- Site clearance
- Forestry Machinery
- Fencing installation
To prepare for the project, the Arboriculture team conducted a site walkout to determine the scope of work and assess the resources, plant machinery, and Overhead Line Equipment requirements. They also identified site access points, landscape features, and environmental constraints. The area to be cleared included semi to mature trees and undergrowth, so an ecology report was produced to protect lineside ecology and address any environmental concerns.
During the project, an ecologist supervised the work to ensure that all activities followed the agreed guidelines. The team cleared 800m of trees, removing all stumps down to 150mm. To reinforce the landowners’ boundary, the team installed stock fencing.
Given the proximity of the work to the open lines and the Overhead Line Electrification, the in-house planning team devised a safe working method that ensured the project did not interfere with the rail infrastructure.
The team used an industry-approved assisted fell technique that involved a ground-anchored winch and pulley system. 360 excavators with timber grabs moved the trees to a safe location at the top of the embankment for chipping using a whole tree chipper. Exclusion zones were set up around any live adjacent OLE and adhered to at all times. The plant and machinery did not enter the mandated exclusion zone of 2.75m (9ft).
The team also ensured that the ground was free of slips and trip hazards and was in line with the requirements of the contractor responsible for the installation of the netting and anchors. The project was completed on time and within budget, with the embankment stabilised by another contractor later on. The arisings were recycled into biomass fuel, ensuring 100% utilisation of the waste material. The project was conducted during mid-week day shifts to increase safety and reduce resource costs without the need for a possession. This strategy allowed RSSI and the client to minimise the impact on the environment, creating an infrastructure fit for future generations.