Dormice mitigation works in Dorset, UK
The dormouse is a European Protected Species and dormice and their habitats are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Dormice are found in a variety of habitats, including deciduous woodland, hedgerows, scrub and rural gardens. Any development that has a reasonable chance of affecting them must put in place appropriate mitigation to reduce or eliminate any potential impact on the local dormouse population. It is also important that these mitigation measures are proportionate to the type and extent of the impact and the size of the affected population.
This was the case for the Dorset Visual Impact Provision project, part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision scheme. The project aims to mitigate the visual impact of the existing section of overhead line near the villages of Martinstown and Winterbourne Abbas by replacing it with underground cabling. This involves the replacement of approximately 8 km of existing 400-kV overhead line with underground cabling and includes the removal of 22 pylons and the construction of two new sealing end compounds to connect the new underground cables to the remaining overhead line. Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, the principal contractor, is delivering the £80 million project as part of its four-year engineer, procure and construct framework with National Grid.
RSK Habitat Management was appointed to undertake the second stage of dormouse mitigation work and the subsequent installation of stock-proof fencing and associated gates. This involved grubbing up, forestry mulching and processing 789 m of existing hedgerow stumps, reinstating excavated areas to existing ground levels and ensuring smooth, flowing contours. The work on the stockproof fencing encompassed supplying and installing up to 10 metal field gates and repairing and reinstating up to 286 m of existing stock-proof fencing.
RSK Habitat Management’s collaborative approach ensured that it was able to meet Morgan Sindall’s tight programme and prevent any costly programme delays.