During the course of Myers Tree Care’s work as Greater Manchester’s leading tree surgeons we were approached by Stockport Council to develop a work plan on how to access and de-vegetate a retaining wall at the end of Astley Street in the centre of Stockport. It had only recently been discovered that SMBC were responsible for the wall, and therefore a thorough inspection was needed to establish its condition and to determine if any works were required to ensure it was in a good state of repair.
Our experienced tree surgeon and climbers attended a site meeting with one of Stockport Council’s engineers to discuss their requirements and what Myers Tree Care could do to assist them with the vegetation management aspects of the works. The wall has iron railings protecting a drop of 20 feet down to the bank of the River Mersey, so we first needed to establish safe access over these in order to abseil and remove or treat the vegetation that was affecting the wall’s face.
A fully detailed method statement and risk assessment were produced and presented to the council’s engineers for their perusal and approval. Once approved, a date was arranged to carry out the works.
The lower part of Astley Street needed cones and tape put into place the night before work commenced, as it is a popular parking spot and we would need the space to operate safely.
On site the following day we first went through the Risk Assessment with our specialist tree care team to ensure that all the requirements to protect both ourselves and the general public were in place before the work started.
We secured ladders on each side of the railings and used a 3 tonne concrete barrier block as an anchor for attaching the climbing line. A friction device was also placed over the railings. Once safely attached the climber accessed the face of the wall via the ladders and began removing the vegetation. All debris was passed over the railings to other team members for chipping. A separate line and pulley were also installed to assist in raising debris from the riverbank to street level.
Once all vegetation had been cut and removed the cut stumps were treated to ensure no re-growth would occur. To assist the engineers we took a catalogue of photographs of the wall’s face and any areas of concern to assist with their assessment of any repair works that may be required.
When the vegetation management work was completed we removed the ladders, reinstalled the temporary fencing and left the site clean and tidy in readiness for the scaffolders and builders who would be needed to make repairs to the wall.