Redefining our countryside, one tree shelter at a time – NexGen

By 12th November 2021Case Study
NexGen Tree Shelter




Sustainable Forestry

our role

Testing & Consultancy

Our Client’s Mission

NexGen‘s mission is clear. It is “to reduce the environmental impact of plastic in our countryside whilst supporting the fight against climate change, one tree shelter at a time.”

Gary Hurlstone (Founder and MD of NexGen Tree Shelters) story began in the mid-1980s when his father, Graham Hurlstone, invented the market leading plastic tree shelter. Gary was determined to innovate his father’s 35-year-old design to ensure that trees shelters continue to be of benefit without having an impact on our environment. NexGen’s patented tree shelter is made of a bio-based resin and reinforced by wool. Gary highlighted that “wool is an underestimated material as it provides the catalyst for the degradation process when exposed to natural elements”. Impact Solutions’ Michael Thompson says, “This unique combination of materials will provide protection for newly planted trees for around 5 years and will biodegrade as food for micro-organisms as the tree shelter breakdown”.

NexGen Countryfile

Our Client’s Tree Shelter Challenges

NexGen Tree Shelters are fully biodegradable, as a product and its individual components. The purpose of the tree shelters is to provide a microclimate and protect the trees from browsing herbivores. Therefore, the tree shelters will not start to break down until the fifth year, depending on location, when the tree is more established. After years of extensive research and development, NexGen tree shelters are ready to meet the world and will launch at the APF Show (the UK’s largest forestry trade show) next year. To ensure product compliance and assure customer confidence, NexGen needed independent testing and validation and engaged with Impact Solutions. NexGen, along with Impact Solutions are looking to sponsor and develop a British Standard (BS) to determine the biodegradability of a tree shelter in order to provide further assurance and confidence to customers. NexGen recognises that the data from Impact Solutions’ accredited testing laboratory was essential.

The Impact We Make

Impact Solutions has a fully equipped and UKAS accredited (No.0402) accelerated weathering laboratory. We can perform a range of biodegradability on products as a part of the BS EN ISO 13432. We provided independent weathering certification following the ISO 20200 standard to confirm that NexGen Tree Shelters will begin to biodegrade after 5 years (location dependent).

Additionally, it was key to ensure that the product will not have any adverse effects on the environment upon its degradation. Impact Solutions analytical and biodegradation laboratories performed a series of rigorous testing to confirm that as the tree shelters break down, the pH and ecotoxicity are neutral.

“Impact Solutions’ involvement in the project has been a key to its success. Without their input, we would not have been taken seriously by foresters around the world.”

Gary Hurlstone | Founder and MD of NexGen

Together for our Planet

The COP26 Summit in 2021 is a momentous campaign for positive action on climate change. We must remember that the proactiveness should go beyond a campaign and the momentum should be continuous. NexGen’s novel technology is another example of #OneStepGreener, making a difference in our society. Alongside the technical expertise from Impact Solutions from behind the scenes, we are #OneStepGreener #TogetherforOurPlanet.