Only telegraph poles and railway sleepers are allowed to be protected by creosote these days. Concerns about the preservative’s potentially carcinogenic properties mean it will soon be banned entirely.
Pollywood, based in Yarm, North Yorkshire, has developed a composite wooden pole that provides strength and durability but without the need for after-treatment.
EEN in the North of England introduced the firm to the BioComposites Centre at Bangor University in North Wales and the connection has borne fruit with a successful joint application this year for Innovate UK feasibility study funding.
Pollywood’s innovation represents a ‘green’ alternative to steel, aluminium, glass re-enforced plastic (GRP), bricks and cement, oil-based plastics and other energy-consuming materials with high environmental impact.
The added advantage of a Pollywood composite pole is that several can be produced from one tree. It is one of a range of green composite materials the company offers to the construction industry, all the product of naturally grown materials from renewable sources.
EEN’s first contact with Pollywood was to understand the company’s ambitions and offer some pointers to growth.
After the BioComposites Centre responded to a profile published by EEN, both parties attended an EEN matchmaking event during an international conference on Renewable Resources & Bio-refineries in York.
That led to a joint application to an Innovate UK competition on ‘materials for demanding environments’ and Pollywood was awarded £75,000 to develop a new range of electricity or telephone transmission poles. The university is receiving £43,000.
Pollywood’s managing director, Steve Crighton, said: “We are really grateful for the continued support. We have made some really excellent connections which we are following up vigorously.”