In a winter of frequent storms and high winds across the country, ScottishPower has announced that its £4m annual investment in tree management is starting to pay dividends, citing on average a 90% reduction in the instances of tree related power disruption in the areas that have been targeted over the past five years.
The current tree maintenance programme, which involves working partnerships with forestry groups and the recruitment of local specialist vegetation contractors, covers an annual length of 6500km across the ScottishPower network.
Brian Bell, programme manager at ScottishPower, said: “Tree surgery is an essential part of maintaining a safe and reliable supply of electricity. We generally see increased supply issues caused by trees growing though lines and broken branches during periods of high winds and storm conditions. However, our programme has helped to reduce tree related power disruption greatly in certain parts of the network, bringing real benefits to our customers.”
Last year in Camilty, near West Calder, the network experienced up to ten power faults caused by tree debris. As a solution, and working in partnership with the Forestry Commission, ScottishPower invested £33,000 on a programme of targeted tree maintenance. Due to the duration of this work a High Voltage generator was brought up from Wales to minimise the inconvenience to customers. This work has seen the number of tree related power outages in the area drop to zero this year.
Brian Bell continued: “Another core aim of this programme is to ensure that work is carried out as sympathetically as possible to local landscapes. We engage with all landowners to discuss and agree our plans in advance and also make all efforts to replace any tree we remove with a suitable species in an appropriate location.
“The relationship with our specialist contractors has helped us to deliver a project that has increased the safety and reliability of our electricity network, as well as managing environmental issues responsibly. The programme will continue across the network and hopefully the benefits of this investment will continue to be seen.”
Media Information: Paul Ferguson 0141 636 4557 / 07702665924