A HUGE sculpture by a local artist is to be installed at COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow starting next week.

Burnt Wood, by Mark Weighton, has been chosen to be included in the area displaying British industry at the global summit attended by world leaders, past and present, and top scientists and experts.

They will be seeking to speed up action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The sculpture, which is 5m long, 4m wide and 4m tall, represents five charred trees rising from a barren landscape. It had been commissioned by eco-friendly building materials company, Plastecowood, to be displayed at their factory in Bodelwyddan, North Wales.

“They were interested in me as they knew I had eco credentials and that I don’t use anything that’s going to add substantially to the climate crisis. I like to use sustainable materials and processes,” Mark said.

The company asked him to create an eye-catching, fire-ravaged forest sculpture made from Smartawood, its proprietary recycled plastic lumber. Smartawood is used to make a wide range of outdoor furniture and building material.

“It’s carbon negative and a lot of building companies and manufacturers are using it to enhance their own eco credentials,” Mark said.

“I wondered if COP26 would be interested in displaying the sculpture prior to it taking up residency in North Wales and approached the Cabinet Office which fast tracked it for approval.

“The sculpture is designed in such a way that the landscape from which the trees rise is meant to be reclined or sat upon. People are invited to climb on it and have their coffees on the sculpture itself and lean up against the trees and hopefully it will become a meeting place for people to discuss the vital issues of the day.”

Mark said he hoped discussions would be sparked by the meaning behind the artwork.

“The message is predominantly bleak but there are tiny little patches of hope. At the end of the branches of the tree trunks, there is a little patch of bright green colour which indicates that all is not yet lost to the great climate crisis inferno,” he said.

Mark’s father, Peter, was a local entrepreneur and spent his entire working life in Woking. He set up two companies, ELS Land Consultants and Repropoint in Poole Road where Mark worked as a teenager in the school holidays.

“He loved Woking. He was always convinced that the next decade was going to produce the Woking of his dreams,” Mark said.

“He couldn’t believe that people hadn’t worked out that it was so close to London and that it should be this incredible thriving commercial satellite of the capital, but it never really quite happened in his lifetime.

“He would be thrilled with what is happening with Woking now.”

Some of Mark’s work was recently included in an exhibition at the Lightbox Museum and Gallery.

“I’m a great supporter of the Lightbox. I think it has done a fantastic job and the director of exhibitions there, Peter Hall, is a really inspiring leader.”

Mark hopes that, after COP26, Burnt Wood will go on tour around the country, possibly including Woking.

“The hope is that organisations, institutions and individuals might fund the placement of the sculpture in different public spaces so that its message can be carried to an even wider audience,” Mark said.