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idverde have been working on the Health Estates across Northern Ireland treating Invasive weeds since 2018. Since 2018, the works to date have all been carried out by operatives using knapsacks, on foot.
In 2021 we carried out a detailed survey at Musgrave Hospital and identified a large area of Japanese Knotweed combined with Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed adjacent to the Hospital’s Helipad, adjacent to and within a deep ravine some 60m wide, which had a watercourse leading downstream to Inner Belfast.
Works were carried out in conjunction with the emergency Air Ambulance and all Hospital Accident and Emergency facilities. Detailed lift plans were compiled by qualified appointed persons and a secure exclusion zone was erected around the site with a permit to work entry for exclusive personnel only.
The visual line of sight for basket and slingers was limited so idverde had to adopt a 4-way radio to be used to communicate with the crane driver so complex areas of the works could be carried out safely. The treatment itself took 4 days to complete with a combination of ground spraying along with crane works and a combination of boom lifts into more complex woodlands. Whilst spraying, pesticides were mixed with sticking agents to ensure the chemical did not run off the leaf, to ensure maximum effect.
idverde also mixed the chemical with a blue dye, which allowed them to continually identify the areas of the site that had been sprayed. idverde has carried out 2 treatments to this area throughout 2021 and is due to carry out a final treatment in September.
There are a further 3 treatments planned for 2022, with a survey being carried out at the start of the growing season to identify the success of the treatment.
There was no safe access to allow operatives to carry out spraying works, and excavation was not an option. As a result, idverde had to mobilise a 120-tonne mobile crane, complete with a man basket, to access the areas identified.
The works were delivered with no incidents and idverde was complimented by the Belfast Trust regarding the planning and operations, thanking idverde for attempting a solution that other contractors had walked away from for many years.