Staff from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) depot in Inverness have rallied round to help the community in  Garve, who had become concerned about the safety of two large  Scots Pines in the village.  

 The trees ran along the side of The Avenue, a popular  and well-used local road, and not only had their height become a local talking point, but one of their bases had become very decayed, so much so that it had been blown onto the other over the winter. With everyone’s safety in mind, Garve and District Community Council made the decision that it would be safer to get the trees professionally removed to prevent a potentially life-threatening situation developing.  

 Daryn Lucas is one of SSEN Transmission’s project managers based at the company’s Henderson Road Depot, and explains how he and his colleagues got involved:   

 “We had developed a good relationship with the community council after discussions around two of our major projects in the area, and so when they approached us for help in removing the trees it was nice to be able to keep up these links, as we want to do everything we can to be a good neighbour in the local community. I had a chat with my colleagues in our tree-cutting team and after they had assessed the trees, we agreed on a plan that would see us all working together to make the area safe again.”  

 SSEN’s tree-cutting team is also based in the Henderson Road depot and work all year round to make sure that trees and vegetation are kept away from the overhead lines, avoiding any damage which could cause a power cut.   

 Patrick Allan is one of the  Field Managers in the tree-cutting team and says that preparation was key to bringing the trees down safely:   

 “The height of the Scots Pines and their precarious condition  meant that  climbing up their trunks with our safety harnesses wasn’t an option, and our risk assessment showed that the only way we would be able to get them down safely was if we brought in a specialist hydraulic platform to give us safe and secure access.  

 “Daryn and I then met up discussed the best way forward and we agreed on a date with the community council for the job.  On the day itself we also set up an exclusion zone and advance warning signs to ensure the safety of anyone approaching the area.  Everything went to plan on the day, and after the trees were down we were able to use some of the wood as logs to distribute amongst the local community.” 

 Kenny Maclean, Chairman of Garve & District Community Council said: "The SSEN team made the whole project very easy, from paperwork, to discussing the issue, to getting the job done.  It was such a relief to get those two dangerous trees down safely.  Credit also to The Highland Council who gave permission for the removal of the trees on The Avenue.  It was good to see neighbouring businesses and groups working together for the benefit of the community."

 As part of SSEN’s ‘Be the Difference’ programme, SSEN employees are encouraged to take a day away from their usual job and volunteer to help local charities and community projects of their choice.  

  The programme has helped over 3,000 community projects since its initial launch in 2010 with employees undertaking beach cleans, gardening, school presentations, event marshalling, painting, tree cutting, dog walking, sports coaching and participation in fundraising events to name but a few.  

To learn more about Be the Difference, please click here.


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