Working with ecology consultants RSK for nearly four years, surveys of the natural habitats were carried along the whole proposed onshore cable route and substation.
By identifying the flora and fauna that could be affected by construction work, we were able to put plans in place to protect it, as part of our Ecology and Landscape Management Plan. The surveys found areas of Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat, including chalk grassland, so to minimise the impact of construction we used special construction methods in these places.
A new approach using seed harvesting, to capture and replace as many of the plants currently growing in these areas as possible was employed. This means will be able to restore habitats to how we found them, once construction is completed. Because this harvesting and restoration technique was specialised, we have worked with experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kew team members collected the seed, which has been tested and is now stored at the organisation’s Millennium Seed Bank. Once the cable works are finished, the seed will be sown and the sites monitored, to make sure the restoration plan is effective. Any leftover seed will be donated to Kew and used in its charitable work across the UK.