Greenbelt

a 'rov'-ing with slope solutions

How do you cut grass on a slope too steep for men to work on safely?

The answer - use a remote operated vehicle (ROV).

At Prestonpans, a Greenbelt development on the east coast of Scotland, the maintenance of a huge bund presented such a problem. The bund was built to "hide" the houses from the Cockenzie power station (or vice versa!). But the steepness of the slope made the usual grass cutting techniques unsafe. In damp or wet weather, it would be downright dangerous.

Slope Solutions offered an ideal solution. This new company, run by Ian Divers, was contracted to do the work for us. The machine used is a unique, track-driven, German-built ROV called a Robo Flail. It is operated by a hand held set of controls, very similar to flying model aircraft or boats.

Ian, in full protective high-viz outfit, stands above it and directs it back and forth across the slopes. The entire operation can take over two days, such is the size and shape of the bund. However, the ROV can go where ordinary grass cutting machinery can't and it does not get stuck. Forwards, backwards, independent traction on either set of wheels, it gets the job done.

Ian has other contracts, but the Prestonpans bund is the biggest test for Robo Flail. What better way to enjoy a day's work, with Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, in the distance, azure blue sky, the sea close by, and the smell of freshly cut grass? On the other hand, when it's wet and windy................

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