Prior to the construction phase, a series of ecological surveys were conducted by Triton Knoll to provide an understanding of protected and important habitats and species present. Subsequently, a detailed Ecological Management Plan (EMP) was submitted to East Lindsey District and Boston Borough Councils in consultation with Natural England, and subsequently approved.
The EMP sets out the mitigation needed to protect habitats and protected species before, during and after construction. This includes mitigation for a variety of habitats and protected species including grazing marsh and hedgerow habitats, breeding and nesting birds, water voles, badgers, great crested newts and reptiles. The requirements of the EMP are implemented by Ecological Clerks of Work (ECoW). The ECoW for the substation site for Siemens is The Environment Partnership (TEP) and the ECoW for the cable system for J Murphy & Sons Ltd. is Helen Scarborough (formerly Scarborough Nixon Associates).
Water voles are present in some of the ditches along the construction corridor. To prevent them from being harmed during construction works, vegetation cutting has been undertaken to encourage them to disperse, followed by careful excavation of any burrows under a Natural England licence.
Low populations of great crested newts were recorded in two ponds close to the construction corridor. The working area will be fenced and any newts will be trapped and translocated under a development licence from Natural England.
Where construction works were required close to an active badger sett, mitigation has been carried out under a Natural England licence, to either “close” the sett, or to ensure any disturbance does not cause harm.
Mitigation/control measures have also been implemented during the clearance of any suitable habitat for breeding and nesting birds and reptiles.
Following construction, any disturbed habitat will be fully reinstated, including the replanting of all hedgerows.
The Summer 2019 edition of the Triton Knoll Community Newsletter contains a great article – ‘Ecology Update Along the Cable Route’ – which focuses on the ecological mitigation being conducted along the cable system by ECoW Helen Scarborough. To read the full article (on page 4) click here.