In December 2021, we commenced preliminary onshore surveys to investigate a number of factors that help inform the proposals we will present at our consultation in October 2022.
These surveys will cover factors such as noise, ground conditions, landscape and visual, traffic and biodiversity, amongst others.
All key stakeholders, such as the local planning authorities and environmental bodies (such as Natural England) have been fully informed of our planned works.
Ecology phase 1 survey in Kent & Suffolk
National Grid will be undertook the Ecology Phase 1 survey, these took place:
- December 2022 – no surveys planned
- w/c 5 December– Friston and Aldeburgh
The Ecology Phase 1 survey usually consists of two surveyors, typically both ecologists, though the second is usually required for health and safety purposes so isn't always an ecologist. Each surveyor could have hi-vis clothing on so that they are easily identifiable where required.
The surveyors visit the survey areas and the vegetation and any species are mapped onto Ordnance Survey maps, usually at 1:10,000 scale. A desk study using aerial photographs will be used prior and the walkover will provide further clarity.
To further assist in the collection of data we are also undertaking a fixed wind aerial survey in both Kent and Suffolk to obtain aerial photography and LiDAR data (detailed topographical information). This information will be used to categorise habitat types, potential areas of archaeological interest and used to inform the project design. This survey will be undertaken alongside the other survey types and will be used to target and prioritise areas that need to accessed on the ground. The aircraft can only be flown in clear and dry weather conditions so we are unable to provide dates of when this work will be undertaken.
Arboricultural walkover in Kent
National Grid will be undertook arboricultural walkovers in Kent, these took place:
- Undertaken in early August 2022 in Ebbsfleet
- Undertaken mid-August 2022 in Friston, Sizewell, Aldeburgh, Hazelwood and Aldringham
The Arboricultural walkover usually consists of two surveyors. Each surveyor could have hi-vis clothing on so that they are easily identifiable where required. These surveys are non-intrusive and consist of noting scientific name, measurements, age, branch spread, physiological and structural conditions, management conditions and whether there is a Tree Preservation Order or a Conservation Area Protection.
Wintering birds surveys in Kent
National Grid will be undertook wintering birds surveys in Kent, these took place:
- w/c 14 November 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
- w/c 21 November 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
- w/c 12 December 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
- w/c 19 December 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
- November/December 2022 - no surveys planned
During a wintering bird survey, two surveyors will look for any wintering birds; all calls and behaviour will be recorded. They consist of the following:
Foreshore counts - monthly high and low tide counts are being undertaken between October and March inclusive. The surveys will cover a period of at least two hours, around high and low tides, where a suitably qualified ornithologist will walk a transect route that will allow observation of all major areas of habitat within the site and suitable wintering bird habitat within the wider zone of influence of the project.
Field counts - a monthly count of wintering birds are being undertaken between October and March inclusive. The surveys will take take place across the site and a 250m buffer around the site. The suitably qualified ornithologist will walk a transect route that will allow observation of all major areas of habitat within the site and suitable wintering bird habitat within the wider zone of influence of the project.