Pontypool and New Inn Station Improvements - Vegetation Management

Clearance of 14,500m2 of mature trees and vegetation to facilitate the construction of a new park and ride car park adjacent to Pontypool and New Inn Railway Station.

Vegetation management at Pontypool and New Inn Pontypool and New Inn Station Improvements - Vegetation Management
Mobile plant clearing mature trees using mechanical attachments Mobile plant clearing mature trees using mechanical attachments.
Clearance of mature vegetation, Pontypool and New Inn Partial clearance of mature vegetation.
Trees and stumps removed from rail embankment, Pontypool and New Inn Trees and stumps removed from Rail Embankment.

In January 2022 Griffith’s Infrastructure were appointed by Torfaen County Borough Council as the preferred tenderer to construct a new park and ride car park adjacent to Pontypool and New Inn Railway Station. The main aim of the scheme being creation of sustainable transportation links to Cardiff for outlying communities as part of the ‘City Region Investment.

To achieve the space required to park 170 vehicles and for access and egress purposes onto the adjacent A4042 trunk road, a significant area of mature vegetation required removing from the steep embankments adjacent to the Carriageway and the Hereford to Leominster Mainline Railway.

Griffiths liaised with key stakeholders SWTRA and Network Rail to coordinate necessary lane closures on the A4042 and safeguarded rail access, therefore minimising disruption to local networks, rail passengers, and freight distributors.

Removing mature trees adjacent to a live carriageway presented safety issues for Griffiths and road users. Griffiths employed Traffic Management specialist Forest Support Services to establish a single lane carriageway closure, therefore reducing the risk to passing motorists and mitigating lengthy diversions through nearby Urban environments.

Griffiths focus on mechanising operations so far as reasonably practicable to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff is given due consideration when undertaking any activity. By utilising specialist tree shears and grapples to remove many of the large trees along the embankments by day, HAVS, fatigue and manual handling were minimised.

To facilitate the safe and efficient clearance of vegetation adjacent to the main line railway, Griffiths liaised with Network Rail who planned and supervised safeguarded line blockages overnight, blocking the railway in between trains to remove all large trees using excavators fitted with mechanical attachments. By undertaking the works at night, Griffiths eliminated the risk for staff working adjacent to the operational railway and eliminated delays to rail traffic whilst large trees were felled using mechanical means.

Prior to vegetation clearance commencing ,Griffiths employed local environmental specialist Ecovigour to undertake desktop and intrusive site surveys to exclude the presence of protected flora, fauna and invasive plant species, therefore reducing the impact on the delivery programme in advance of the main works commencing. Furthermore, Griffiths utilised experienced ecologists to supervise all clearance
works throughout the 6-week construction phase to mitigate daily risk if protected species come out of hibernation.

Rail embankment with digger at Pontypool/New Inn Rail embankments re-profiled post site clearance.
Rail embankment reprofiled at Pontypool/New Inn Rail embankments re-profiled post site clearance.

Working at Height presents safety issues in many sectors of the construction industry, clearing trees from over steep embankments being one often not considered by most, but not for Griffiths. Our Geotechnical Division employs over 50 staff, many having specialist skills sets including IRATA rope access, NPTC arboricultural technicians and (PTS) personal track safety which permits staff to work on the operational railway. Utilising these specialist skill sets ensured trees and vegetation out of reach for mechanical plant and immediately adjacent to the operational railway could be cleared without compromising safety.

Griffiths recognise the importance of biodiversity and the impact our projects have on the local environment. Utilising local resources, over 1000t tonne of woodchip, mulch, tree stumps and roots generated from processing was sent to a local biomass facility for re-use as fuel, exceeding the client’s KPI expectations of 95% diversion of waste from landfill.

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