Efficient and Effective


Project Data

Start date:


End date:





This is an innovative project carried out in consortium with other DNOs which include SP Energy Networks, Northern Power Grid and UK Power Networks. The project is exploring an alternative to creosote which is the pre-treatment preservative used on overhead line poles. Creosote has recently been banned within the UK from being used at the industrial stage due to certain formulation restrictions. This project is exploring an alternative to creosote.

What is the project about?

Creosote is the pre-treatment preservative of choice for UK Over-Head Line (OHL) wood poles and provides poles with a service life of 45-55 years. There are millions of these poles in GB. Creosote for amateur use was banned in the UK in 2003, and industrial creosote now has to conform to certain formulation restrictions. Further revision is anticipated. Identification of this alternative to creosote will therefore help to keep the cost of the distribution system down, realised in lower costs for customers.

How we’re doing it

The project identifies a suitable preservative by reviewing the literature in the area to identify candidate preservative types. It then tests these preservatives by carrying out an accelerated-ageing test of wood poles treated with different preservatives; and assessing the results by analysing samples at different times during the test.

What makes it innovative

Currently, there is no alternative to creosote to be used on wooden poles to extend their lifetime. An alternative would be an innovative solution that can replace creosote.

What we’re learning

Trialling different technologies and ageing tests on the field to develop an alternative of creosote.

thinking outside the box icon
Share your ideas

If you have an idea that could reshape or revolutionise the way we work, we want to hear from you.

Submit an idea