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Independent Test Confirms Polesaver as Most Efficient Creosote Alternative

Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) – Project APPEAL

Environmentally Acceptable Wood Pole Pre-treatment Alternatives to Creosote: Review of Potential Products and Initial Efficacy Tests

With a potential ban on the use of creosote in the UK, several UK Power Companies and The UK National Grid, commissioned an extended, independent decay and associated strength testing from 2017 on a range of creosote alternatives.

The new test report published by Freedom, part of NG Bailey and a provider of technical engineering and maintenance services, shows that preservative-treated samples all suffered loss of strength after decay testing, whilst the preservative-treated samples protected with Polesaver sleeves did not lose strength. This clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of Polesaver Total Ground-line Barrier Sleeves.

The study had been commissioned to examine the best Creosote alternatives for wood post-preservation in light of the Creosote ban coming into effect in Europe.

2023 APPEAL test front cover

Click to download APPEAL report

Approved for funding by Ofgem under the Network Innovation Allowance Scheme, the test is an extended, accelerated, fungal decay test which generally has good correlation with real life performance.

In the study, three commercially available wood preservative options are compared. All were tested with & without, partial and total barrier sleeves:

  • Creosote
  • Tanasote (Copper in oil)
  • RVP (Copper in oil formulation)

Results of the Independent APPEAL Test

The results of the test showed that treating the stakes with wood preservative and applying a  Polesaver total ground line barrier sleeve, prevented loss of strength over time.

The APPEAL test report has recently been published on the UK Energy Network Association [ENA] website.

Download the PDF here: 2023 – APPEAL POLESAVER report

Summary of Key Data

In this independent, accelerated test, preservative-treated samples were compared with preservative-treated samples fitted with both partial & total ground line barrier sleeves and untreated control samples.

After 48 months the samples were subjected to mechanical break testing to establish the modulus of rupture (strength) of the samples. Most utilities allow for a maximum loss of strength of up to 50% when sizing poles with poles normally being replaced at this point.

The table below shows the comparison of the strength of preservative-treated wood after 48 weeks of accelerated decay testing.

Preservative Treatment Strength (MOR) after 48 weeks Preservative treated only Strength (MOR) after 48 weeks Preservative plus Polesaver sleeve
Creosote 84% 115%
RVP 82% 100%
TS 76% 99%
  • All preservative-treated samples without sleeves lost strength.
  • All preservative-treated samples protected with partial barrier sleeves lost strength, but to a lesser extent than those without any sleeves.
  • The samples protected with Polesaver total barrier sleeves were the only samples where full strength was maintained over time.

To Conclude

These results clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of Polesaver total ground line barrier technology in preventing decay and loss of strength over time.

Polesaver protected poles have been successfully used by UK distribution network operators since 2013 as an alternative to Creosote preservative treatment. 


Polesaver-LogoGet in touch to find out more about Polesaver’s total ground line barrier sleeve or request independent test data.

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