Improved national and European regulations with a view to environmental protection over the past 15-20 years have significantly altered the timber treatment industry.

When the old ‘copper chrome and arsenic’ timber treatment was abolished in 2004 due to serious health and environmental concerns, the wood preservative industry had to work hard to tackle the premature failures of fencing posts which many experienced in the 2000s after the introduction of the copper only based wood preservatives.

Steven Sutton, MD of specialist fencing manufacturer Fountain Timber Products, said: "Producers like BASF Woolman GmbH, one of the first players in the industry to launch new copper-based wood preservatives in Europe, have succeeded in optimizing these products to achieve high efficiency and penetration properties to ensure reliable service life of treated timber."

The use of preservative in vacuum-pressure-treated timber provides long lasting protection against fungal and insect attack.

Since the introduction of BASF product to the Fountain treatment plants over five years ago, the failure rate has been less than one in one hundred posts.

Steven added: "The expectation is that this figure will only increase slightly over the next five years as all ground contact timber is pressure treated to user class 4 allowing us to offer a service life expectation of 10 years with our own free replacement undertaking for even the most challenging locations."

The effectiveness of preservative product Wolmanit®CX is based on active substance copper-HDO, a fungicide that is one of the most toxicology tested active substances to date in wood protection. It is registered for use under the two main national and European specifications standards until 2025.

Head of Marketing at BASF Wolman GmbH, Dr Eric Uerdingen said: "We believe among today’s established active substances, copper-HDO might be one of the only long-term viable high performance fungicidal active substances remaining for the future as we believe it will be approved beyond 2025 without constraints."