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UK Power Networks branches out into more tree cutting to be ready for winter

Homes and businesses are benefitting from UK Power Networks’ tree cutting programme which reduces the chance of power cuts happening this winter.

From Press releases - 22 November 2017 12:00 AM

Cutting image 1 - UK Power Networks (002).jpg

This year the country’s biggest electricity distributor UK Power Networks has spent £20million cutting trees and vegetation away from power lines in the East and South East of England.

The company now cuts back vegetation alongside 300km of cables every month (about 3000 spans of overhead lines) and to do this around 250 staff are employed in tree cutting activities, both directly and contracted.

Ahead of National Tree Week starting November 25, UK Power Networks’ tree cutting is designed to reduce power cuts for customers while always respecting the environment.

The company uses the latest aerial technology to survey the trees every two to three years using fixed wing aircraft radar planes using LiDAR technology with no disturbance to landowners.

This helps show where cutting is needed based on how close tree branches are to electrical equipment and where the most customers would be impacted by any power cut.

Martin Peters, an area tree manager for UK Power Networks, said: “As the winter storm season approaches, customers can be reassured we have done everything possible with our preparations in terms of ensuring the trees most likely to cause damage have been worked on.

“We work closely with landowners to establish the best time to do any tree cutting work and should nearby electricity supplies need to be turned off to complete maintenance work safely, we always notify residents in advance and keep any inconvenience to an absolute minimum.

“With the improvements in technology, and reduced need for patrol the power lines by foot because we use the radar planes, we are now able to do in six months an amount of work which used to take several years.

“This has led to a vast increase in effectiveness across the regions we look after which helps our business stay cost efficient and value for money.”

UK Power Networks gains written permission from all landowners prior to cutting taking place and they can stipulate a time window, such as when crops are harvested, outside the shooting season or around nesting bird season, plus wildlife legislation is taken into account.

First initiated in 1975, National Tree Week is the UK's largest tree celebration, annually launching the start of the winter tree planting season.

UK Power Networks delivers power to more than eight million homes and businesses across the East of England, the South East and across London. If residents ever have a power cut they can call the company for free on 105, and engineers will fix it.

Anyone who would feel vulnerable during a power cut, can also sign up now to a Priority Services Register to receive free extra help at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk