Working with ecology consultants RSK for nearly four years, surveys of the natural habitats were carried out 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 were employed. This means we were able to restore habitats back to how we found them before construction. Because this harvesting and restoration technique was specialised, we worked with experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kew team members collected the seed, which was tested and stored at the organisation’s Millennium Seed Bank. Once the cable works were finished, the seed was sown and the sites monitored, to make sure the restoration plan was effective. Any leftover seed is being donated to Kew and used in its charitable work across the UK.