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Caring for the natural environment

At National Grid, we play our part in protecting and enhancing the natural environment across England and Wales.

Caring for the natural environment

Across National Grid Electricity Transmission, we own around 1,800 hectares of non-operational land, which includes a rich variety of habitats from ancient woodland to peatbogs.

A core element of our sustainability strategy focusses on gathering a better understanding of the natural assets we own, the benefits and essential services that these provide to our business, our stakeholders, and the wider environment; as we look at ways to enhance and improve the quality of nature across our landholdings.

As we upgrade and expand our network to facilitate delivery of a Low Carbon and Net Zero future we're making sure that we minimise the impact of our construction projects and deliver a ‘net gain’ as a result of our works. No ‘net loss’ is simply not good enough. The climate and biodiversity crises we find ourselves in, means there has never been a more pressing time for businesses to protect and enhance our natural resources.

We are protecting the natural environment in a number of ways:

  • The consideration and management of the natural environment form key aspects of our corporate commitments, sustainability targets, strategies and network development processes. Impacts and opportunities associated with the land that we own and manage are embedded within our processes.
  • We have adopted best practice methods, such as the ‘Natural Capital’ approach, so we can make sure our decisions can create the most benefit and value. National Grid developed a bespoke Natural Capital Tool that utilised 3rd party data to provide indicative financial values associated to the provision of ecosystem services. These help us place a value on the benefit and services our natural assets provide, taking into consideration the surrounding environment. Recognising the value of our natural assets is helping us to identify and focus on managing them in ways that deliver the greatest value to us and our stakeholders
  • To minimise the impact of our construction projects we are driving net gain in environmental value (including biodiversity) and striving for more than 10% where possible.
  • We have partnerships with specialist environmental organisations who helps us to shape new ways of managing our natural assets on a local scale, the benefits of which go beyond ecosystems, positively affecting local communities and our own staff.  Using a partnership approach at a local level will ensure that sustainability strategies are in line with local and regional development/conservation priorities.

We have supported a network of Environmental Education Centres for over 25 years, all of which are located on non-operational land adjacent to four electricity substations: Bishops Wood, Iver, Skelton Grange and West Boldon. The centres are managed by non-governmental organisations as part of long-term partnerships: Field Studies Council, Groundwork South, The Conservation Volunteers and Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle.

National Grid’s Natural Capital Tool

Case Study – Margam Substation

In 2019, National Grid approached The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) to work with them on a sustainability project at Margam Substation near Port Talbot, South Wales.

Margam Substation