• Heathland Group - Providing Aquatic Solutions Throughout the UK
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Piling and Bank Protection

Piling and bank protection for lakes, rivers, reservoirs and ponds - Heathland Aquatic Engineering

Bank protection and stabilisation is required for a number of reasons and it's used in many different environments. Our piling and bank protection products are available for purchase only or supply and installation using our own teams of engineers to complete your project.

One of the most recognised industries where pilings are used would be in the Rail industry and this is a good place to start our explanation for uses.

Our plastic piling range is suitable for a wide range of applications within the UK rail network infrastructure, including bank retention, stabilisation of floodwater areas, track side refuges and applications such as trench shoring. With these products there are also huge benefits including cost savings, durability and of course great ease of use onsite.

Our Plastic Piling;

  • Is totally maintenance free
  • Will not rot or rust
  • Is much lighter than the steel equivalent – therefore making it easier to handle and transport in remote locations
  • Has a Class 1 fire rating  which is backed with no risk to sparking
  • Is made totally from 100% recycled plastic
  • Is available with wood composite fascia for great looks in delicate locations
  • Is easy to cut onsite
  • Is chemical and salt water resistant.

Flood Defence 

In just recent years the UK has seen unprecedented levels of flooding, this has highlighted the need for cost-effective and extremely robust solutions to be put in place to avoid future devastation. All of the products seen here offer suitable solutions in many different environments, Nicospan is also a good option where cost needs to be kept as low as possible and bank heights are under one metre.

The Management of Flood Plains and Wetlands

Nicospan and Plastic piling are used extensively by associations such as the National Trust, Broads Authority and the Environment Agency as these solutions are lightweight enough to be carried to site in hard-to-reach areas such as broadlands and wetlands.

Plastic piling for river bank protection - supplied and installed by Heathland Aquatic EngineeringWith the main objectives of sustaining wetlands and protecting the rich wildlife that inhabit them,  piling is now being utilised to elevate water levels, reduce soil erosion and ultimately, to help prevent water draining down to lower ground and then flooding the farmland and properties that lie at risk there.

All our piling materials are made from recycled PVCu and due to the lightweight nature of the products, they can sometimes be installed by hand if ground conditions allow, which then eliminates the need for heavy machinery that could destroy wildlife and fauna in protected areas.

Our piling range is 100% lead-free and made in Britain, in addition to being:

  • Surprisingly strong
  • Easy to transport due to its lightweight advantages
  • Reduced or no mechanical handling required
  • Made from 100% recycled, lead-free plastic
  • Totally maintenance free and does not rot or rust
  • No need for painting
  • Resistant to most chemicals
  • Versatile and easy to apply to any application
  • Available in a range of styles
  • A very cost effective alternative


The UK’s river and canal banks are subject to erosion due to the increasing demands on them and the changes in climate, which is bringing increased water flows. Plastic piling can help by creating a protective watertight barrier while at the same time gives an attractive, clean edge to ponds, lakes, rivers and canal banks. If you are looking for a solution that is lower in cost and does not need to take the impact of plastic piling then Nicospan offers a good alternative.


Farmers, Trusts, Forestry Commissions and Environmental Protection bodies such as the National Trust, Defra and the Environment Agency use a large amount of plastic piling, for a several reasons:

  • All of our Plastic PVCu piling products are made from 100% lead-free recycled plastic, thus promoting sustainability
  • These materials won’t rot or rust, won't need painting nor leach chemicals into water
  • After installation it is completely maintenance free
  • Due to the lightweight nature of the products, large vehicle access is not required


There are many uses for our plastic piling range in the landscaping, land development and gardening sectors. With a variety of different products available to support a wide variety of applications.

Using a typical tie-back system, our piling products and Nicospan can be used for soil retention or to create tiers in gardens and larger areas. None of these products rot or degrade, some are also watertight which means no maintenance is required once it has been installed.

The Log pile offers even greater uniqueness for landscapers and developers. Each section consists of three ‘logs’ extruded together with an interlocking joint on each end, and is readily available in any length of up to 6m long. For additional strength, the log piles can be installed with concrete and topped off with soil, with plants added to provide an attractive finish.

These log piles have been exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2014. As with all the piling range of products, the Log pile is also made from the same recycled lead-free PVCu. Log pile has a wood composite fascia to give the piling a natural look – offering a unique hard engineering option with a natural softer engineering appearance.


Our piling is used in a wide range of applications within the construction industry. From typical retention uses and landscaping to the regeneration of the UK's waterways, highways and utilities.

full pan piling - plastic piling for waterway and gardens, supplied and installed by Heathland Aquatic EngineeringVery similar in appearance to some of the more traditional steel piles, the PVCu Full Pan pile provides a strong, watertight and maintenance free alternative. Surprisingly strong, this plastic piling solution can be tied back and has been tested in accordance with ISO 9002.

Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) conducted a large scale testing program on some of these products. Although of course this was aimed largely at highway applications this report tested the mechanical properties and durability of plastic piling from around the world and subsequently went on to recommend potential uses for plastic piling, primarily in the highways area.


Finally when trench work or any temporary pit is needed to access utility pipelines or cabling, shoring is usually required in order to stabilise the walls to avoid collapse and secure the workforce from danger. Before plastic piling, more traditionally, shoring was made from steel. Due to the weight and cost of steel piles they would need to be installed and removed with every job.

Our  PVCu Trenching Piles have enabled utility contractors to install piling along the sides of the trench and leave it in place. It is a highly unlikely target for thieves whilst the work is being completed and the low cost of the material means it can be left in place once the work is completed. On top of this it is also lightweight enough to be carried easily to site and installed manually.