We’ve been working with RSK, our ecology consultants, for nearly four years, carrying out surveys of the natural habitats along the proposed onshore cable route.
By identifying the flora and fauna that could be affected by construction work, we’ll be 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. To minimise the impact of construction, we’ll use special construction methods in these places.
We’ve also been exploring a new approach using seed harvesting, to capture and replace as many of the plants currently growing in these areas as possible. This means we’ll be able to restore habitats to how we found them, once construction is completed. Because this harvesting and restoration technique is specialised, we’ve been working with experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kew is collecting the seed, which will be tested and stored at their 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 their charitable work across the UK.
Brush Harvesting in the South Downs, Copyright Botanic Gardens, Kew