In June 2017, Anglian Water began work on a pipeline renewal scheme at Belstead Water Tower, Ipswich. Trenching 1.2m deep by 0.5m wide was required to allow pipe-laying, but the only route out of the compound was in the Root Protection Area (RPA) of large oak, an important group of TPO trees.
Norfolk Wildlife Services worked with Anglian Water and Conroys to create an Arboricultural Method Statement [AMS]. An innovative solution practical technology – a suction excavator [Conroy Vac Ex] – to prevent need to cut roots with ground protection techniques to protect tree roots of the protected trees from vehicle damage.
The suction excavator removes the soil around the roots, eliminating the need to cut through them in order to create the trench. Major roots were left intact which means the trees ability to take up water and nutrients was not compromised. Exposed roots were wrapped with wet hessian to prevent desiccation. The pipe was then laid underneath the routes and the trench was then backfilled with the original soil, minimising disruption to the trees’ water supply in a period of dry weather.