Arb contract wins worth £50m lead Ground Control to expand its team

Ground Control has secured three new contracts worth more than £50m and will double its arboriculture workforce in the Midlands.

The five-year contracts with Western Power Distribution (WPD) cover vegetation management, cyclical maintenance and storm resilience, starting on 1 January.

Ground Control director of arboriculture Peter Allen said: "This is a fantastic achievement. We have strived to maintain a consistently high level of service and this has been reflected by the award of these contracts."

A relative newcomer to the utility arboriculture market, Ground Control acquired UPM Tilhill and its previous five distribution areas with the company in July 2012. In the latest tendering round, it lost three areas to Glendale but has won six more, taking its total with WPD to eight.

Allen said the five-year contracts are "a much higher specification of tree management" where so much utility arb work involves reactive work and often framework agreements rather than exclusive contracts. It enables Ground Control to use a wood plan database, which gives managers an overall picture of the areas covered, flags up when a cut is due and lists access permissions from the landowners.

"It gives us a massive opportunity and the client knows their network is being managed," he said. In the event of bad weather, such as predicted "weather bomb" storms, Ground Control is ensuring that teams are on standby. The company will double its cutter workforce of 137 from January.

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