After 12 months of hard work we have Planning approval to go ahead with the Boardwalk project in Forge Valley. The project includes a new footbridge at the southern end of the boardwalk. Improvements to existing car parks and earthwork protection to an area containing a champion chestnut tree. The reason for the earthworks is to stop cars parking and driving over the tree roots which compact the soil and eventually kill the trees. The most important part of the project is removing the existing boardwalk and replacing with a 100% recycled plastic boardwalk which will last for up to 40 t0 50 years in such a shaded location.
Suitably treated timber would at best last 20 years and most likely around 10-12 years now. The amount of timber required could not sustainably re grow in that time. The plastic material is 100% recycled and provides a market for all the plastic we have created. It locks up a vast range of plastic into a very stable version which has virtually untraceable levels of micro plastic during its life time. The material can be recycled a further 2 times under present technology.
A question asked at the Planning meeting was "what will happen to the swarf and dust when the material is drilled or cut". The answer is, the contractor must collect all of this waste material so will either pre drill/cut elsewhere or have a sealed extract system in situ.
The material also resists algae and plant growth as it is inert. This reduces the slime which creates such a slippery surface on timber when wet. There will be some minor design changes to seating areas and passing places to make it easier for wheelchair users. On the northern leg from Old Mans Mouth, a short section will be regraded. The more gentle slope will make it easier to push a wheelchair up.
The timetable to commence the work has yet to be confirmed. We still have to submit all the documentation required to support the bid. There is a risk that the bid may be too late and the money spent elsewhere.
We hope to hear around Christmas time if we have secured all the money for the scheme and will let everyone know as soon as possible.
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