The work will form part of site preparations for National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project in Snowdonia, which will transform the landscape across the Dwyryd Estuary by replacing the 10 pylons and 3km of overhead electricity transmission wires with a connection in a deep tunnel underneath the estuary.
Specialist ecologists from Mold-based Atmos Consulting, and their sub-contractors Ecological Land Management, will be preparing the site ahead of the construction of the compound for the eastern access shaft of the tunnel. The work is being undertaken to ensure that there is minimal impact on the wildlife in the area during our construction works.
The Atmos team will start by removing thick vegetation (including brambles and self seeded trees) from the site over the summer, at the same time as erecting a fence around the perimeter of the majority of the site, to prevent reptiles from entering. Additional livestock fencing will be installed, as and when appropriate.
Reptile refugia will then be placed within the fenced area, which will safely assist in encouraging reptiles to be caught. Any that we find will be relocated to the area outside the fenceline. We expect to clear the area of reptiles in 30 days, with removal continuing in the Autumn if it is needed.
The team will also be very careful to avoid disturbing nesting birds in the area, as we are aware the work will be taking place within the bird breeding season. An ecologist will carry out vegetation checks prior to any removal, to ensure there are no nests in the area to be worked on that day.
If there are nests in a given area, buffer zones will be established around them, and the nest will be left undisturbed until the birds have fledged. We expect to clear any areas of vegetation that have nests within them in September, following fledging.
The full programme of activity will involve a number of machines including a tractor and a mini excavator. You can also expect to see our team using strimmers, chainsaws and hedge cutters as part of the vegetation clearance, as well as a chipping machine to break down the larger pieces. Any chippings will be used as mulch on site where possible, while alternative homes or ‘hibernaculas’ for small animals will be created using leftover logs at agreed locations outside of the main working area.
The work has been discussed in detail and will have been approved by planners and the ecologist from the Snowdonia National Park Authority before work starts. We also have the consent of the relevant landowners where required.
Throughout the project, National Grid will continue to work with organisations including the Snowdonia National Park Authority, Gwynedd Council, the National Trust, Natural Resources Wales and Cadw to ensure all necessary permissions are obtained.
If you have any queries about the project or the works taking place, please do not hesitate to contact the VIP project team directly by calling 0800 019 1898 or by emailing us at [email protected].