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Grafton Head Lock Gates, Oxfordshire

Wijma Environment Agency Grafton Lock

As one of the nominated suppliers on the Environment Agency’s first ever National Framework for the supply of Temperate and Tropical Hardwood, Wijma was awarded the contract to supply FSC certified Okan and Ekki for Grafton Lock gates.

Both sets of gates were due to be replaced at Grafton Lock in Oxfordshire, between December and March, but due to recent flooding the Environment Agency had only been able to replace the head gates. Ekki was used for the frame of the gates with Okan being utilised for the planking that was supplied as pre-machined timber sheetpiling, widely used in Europe for bank protection it is supplied in falling widths and machined with a tongue and groove profile, Okan sheetpiling offered the most cost effective solution and kept to the budgeted costs for the project.

Traditionally and in practice the manufacture of lock gates have heavily relied on species like Greenheart and Ekki, however with the Environment Agency’s proactive approach, they are now actively seeking to diversify and use more lesser known species of hardwood, particularly Angelim Vermelho, Cupiuba, Eveuss, Okan, and Tali. These five lesser known species were tested in partnership with Trada and given a HS strength class and are contained within the Environment Agency commissioned research report, and subsequent specifiers guide which is of interest to anyone who uses timber in marine and freshwater applications.

These Lesser Used Species have already been supplied by Wijma UK and have been used on Environment Agency coastal projects including at Pevensey and Sandown, Isle of Wight where FSC certified Eveuss timbers have been used.