4 Jun 2024

Rural lines company tackles trees with heli-saw

From Nine To Noon, 9:35 am on 4 June 2024

A central North Island lines company is dangling a giant saw off a helicopter in a bid to protect its infrastructure.

Lines companies have been calling for an overhaul of rules stipulating what they can do to trees near lines for a decade. They have described a recent change allowing for a 'clear to the sky' zone meaning tree branches growing near lines can be cut back - as a tiny step.

Risky trees can still fall and take down lines. This was one of the leading causes of outages after Cyclone Gabrielle in February last year. The Lines Company - the distributor for parts of the central North Island like Ruapehu, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui - is acutely impacted by trees. The company has devised an innovation - it's trialled a giant saw attached to a helicopter which runs up along lines and cuts branches. Mike Fox is chief executive of The Lines Company.     

The heli-saw being used by The Lines Company to deal with problematic trees.

Photo: Supplied / The Lines Company