Site: DCL - Didcot Chester Line
Site Description: Rewley Road Up Sidings
Client: Network Rail Projects / Carillion
Client Contact: Gareth Hurley - Network Rail Senior Project Manager
Contract Value: £ 96,000.00

Site Description & Remit
Coombes have been commissioned by Network Rail / Carillion to provide enabling works for the installation of a sub station and depot / office facilities at the Up -Sidings depot at Rewley Road, North of Oxford Station on the DCL line.

The site is half a mile in length and extensively covered in un-managed mature trees of varying descriptions, falling apart and in need of management.

Joint Consultancy With Network Rail & Local Residents:
Coombes were instrumental in joint consultancy between Network Rail and the local residents committee to answer questions and to compile a management plan for the tree works. Coombes surveyed the site to assess condition of trees present, their value and safety and to put together a detailed Woodland Management Plan. This detailed the clearance of fallen and dangerous trees and the pollarding of the remaining trees to retain a healthy screen for residents and at the same time, to also provide the space required by the project.

Phase 1 Habitat Survey & Ecology:
Coombes carried out a Phase 1 Habitat Survey of the area to be cleared, appointed a watching brief to be present whilst the works took place. Trees with nesting birds had an exclusion zone placed around them and a badger warren was cordoned off. The watching brief kept a site diary of the activity and regularly updated the team about his findings to ensure that no protected species would be disturbed during the works.

The Works:
Phase one of this work involved clearing mature fallen and dangerous trees that had split and hung up in surrounding trees to make the site safe. We used our excavator with Tree Sheers to dismantle the trees and then these were fed into our 25 inch tracked whole tree chipper, using the log grab attachment.

Forwarding Timber Off Site:
Our John Deere Forwarder then moved 150 ton of timber (approximately 50%) to a central stacking point and collected by timber lorries. The timber was sold as a saleable item which effectively paid for its extraction with the cost savings passed back to the client.

Woodland Management Plan:
The remaining standing trees were then pollarded to the heights specified in our Woodland Management Plan as agreed with the local residents which will now promote a healthier collection of trees and provide a better screen for the residents.

Tree Planting / Mitigation: Coombes endeavour to recommend tree planting wherever possible to mitigate against trees that are removed for safety purposes. We have implemented a full Tree Planting Proposal for the Rewley Road site to compliment the pollarding work. We will be using trees of varying species and maturity to suit the particularly wet environment.

Tree planting is certainly an advantage in built up areas and on sites which are overlooked by third party residents. It is not only good for the reputation of the Railway as a whole but it is essential for the preservation of the ecology and aesthetics of the landscape.

Works Specification: Removal of 50 large Poplar trees and scrub over 5 spans during a 5 day shutdown.

Works Method: We removed over 100 tonnes as timber and burnt a further 100 tonnes on site utilising our purpose built John Deere Forwarder, 13 tonne excavator and winch tractor. The large Poplars were felled using a tractor winch as assistance with the forwarder and the excavator clearing / tidying the site and then re-ditching afterwards. We climbed and sectionally dismantled the trees which were not possible to fell whole. We removed an addition 29 mature Poplar trees on adjacent powerlines using Traffic Management (trees next to the road) plus clearing thorn, willow and scrub.

Completion: The entire job was completed in four days - one day ahead of schedule, allowing the network to be taken off generated power.

Works Specification: The contract was to cut and remove conifer to return the site back to open habitat. It had to be completed within a three month window (September to November).

This work comprised of 7½ hectares clearance of dense, young pine; 6½ hectares of thinning and 7 hectares of final felling. All cut material was removed from site – over 3,000 tons of timber and just under 2,000 tons of wood chips.

Handcutters worked through the immature conifer clear fell areas felling and presenting produce ready to be forwarded to the chip site. Over 100 man days was spent cutting this type of material on this site.

All works were carried out to RSPB specifications to minimise the impact on wildlife, particulalry dormice and ancient archeological features which were identified and marked before and during operartions.