The Forestry Commission (FC) is replacing its ageing fleet of 15 graders with new Volvo vehicles.

Variable horsepower Volvo G726 units are gradually replacing Aveling Barfords for building and maintaining the FC’s 12,430-mile network of unpaved roads and tracks – the largest amount of untarmaced roads in the UK.

The forest tracks consist of broken brick foundations and crushed stone on top. Short sections are travelled intensively by heavy harvesting machines and forwarding haulers during felling, while tracks used for the the British rally have to be upgraded every year.

The all-wheel drive G726B weighs 16,057kg and features 7.1 and 9.6 litre turbo-charged low-emission diesel engines providing variable horepower of 148-175kW (198-235hp). It has eight forward speeds, including gears for high-speed road maintenance, snow-ploughing and high-speed roading.

The Forestry Commission’s Mechanical Engineering Services division, which supplies all equipment to the commission, is pushing its suppliers to provide biodegradable oils and is investigating the use of bio-diesels.