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Engineers step in to help feathered friends

Engineers at UK Power Networks have been busy in the countryside in Coombes, near Shoreham, improving the environment for the local birds.

From Press releases - 9 November 2012 12:00 AM

Engineers at UK Power Networks have been busy in the countryside in Coombes, near Shoreham, improving the environment for the local birds.

The three-man team headed out to land by the River Adur near Coombes Road to install 50 special diverters on to five spans of overhead electricity lines, covering a stretch of about 520 metres.

The project has cost about £3,000 with a diverter being put on a line every 10metres.

Occasionally birds can be injured or even killed if they collide with the overhead lines, often because they have poor eyesight and cannot see the lines before they get entangled in them.

The diverters, coloured plastic discs attached to the lines via springed clips, enable the birds to spot the line and alter their course to avoid them. They are used to great effect throughout the country, not just in the areas that are the responsibility of UK Power Networks (the East of England, London and the South East).

Brianne Reeve, who lives nearby and is chairman of the Shoreham District Ornithological Society, said: “All too often people are quick to criticise big companies. But when I approached UK Power Networks about fitting the diverters they were very speedy and very efficient – I’m extremely impressed. They’ve done more than I asked so I’m very grateful.”

Bill Blackburn, Sussex area manager for network operations, said: “The project went very well – there were no problems although access was tricky because the lines are close to the riverbank. The installation is a straightforward procedure and we make sure that customers’ supplies don’t have to be interrupted. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously.”

Although the area is not a designated wildlife reserve, it is a natural route for birdlife flying by the river.