Geofabrics – Clearing the Route

Geofabrics – Clearing the Route
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Geofabrics – Clearing the Route

This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 4 2021.

CuTex Geocomposite – Safe and Effective Root Barrier Inhibition for Japanese Knotweed

The spread of invasive plants, like Japanese Knotweed, is a huge headache for the rail industry. Damage to infrastructure – like pipework, drains, ballast and cabling – and uncontrolled spread to neighbouring land can result in excessive costs for remediation, prosecution and compensation claims. Knotweed can also obscure railway signals and signs, making it a significant safety concern, too.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is considered to be the most aggressive of invasive plant species. Affecting a wide range of environments, it’s often found colonising man-made habitats, such as roadsides, railways and brownfield land. Its main method of spreading is via rhizome fragments – these can be as small as a 1g in weight and still form a new knotweed colony, even after lying dormant.

Knotweed can be dispersed in water, through garden waste, fly-tipping and via machines at construction sites, establishing a colony from one rhizome that can extend up to seven metres with plants around two to three metres high. That means its excavation and prevention methods are a serious business. It’s thought that eradicating all known knotweed in the UK would cost billions of pounds.

The Tried and Extensively Tested Solution to Invasive Plants

It’s not illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your land, but legislation exists to prohibit its further spread. Once it has been removed from a site, action must be taken to prevent any rhizome fragments from re-growing.

There are a number of solutions on the market, from chemical treatments to plastic barriers. However, these can cause problems of their own. Plastic prevents water from draining freely, creating the risk of flooding. And chemicals can damage the ecosystem and have a detrimental effect on nutrients, other plants and wildlife. This is where CuTex comes in.

CuTex is a permeable geocomposite root barrie system consisting of a copper sheet mechanically encapsulated between two high-strength geotextiles. An innovative solution to the problem of invasive plants, it can provide direct protection from root intrusion to foundations and drains, landfill caps, roads, railways, dams and green roofs. So, what are its key benefits?

Download the full PDF here.

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