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Happier habitat created at Surrey substation

Bird boxes, winter hibernation refuges and a mini wildflower meadow have been created at a Surrey electricity substation by a group of power workers.

From Press releases - 28 September 2021 12:00 AM

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UK Power Networks has identified 100 substation sites across the South East, East of England and London for biodiversity enhancements as part of its Green Action Plan to attract more wildlife and improve habitat and conservation.

Volunteers from the legal and tree cutting teams at the electricity firm spent a day working to improve a site in Dormansland, near Lingfield, Surrey, through the company’s Donate a Day, which gives employees two paid days leave each year to work on voluntary projects in their local community.

An ecologist from environmental consultants, ADAS, surveyed the site and advised on wildlife enhancements. The team built two hibernacula using logs and soil, creating features suitable for insects, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles for shelter over winter.

Non-native leylandii trees shading a pond were removed to increase light levels, helping aquatic vegetation to establish, and opening up the woodland floor to allow seedlings to grow. The woody vegetation was used to create a dead hedge, providing a meandering habitat corridor through the woodland.  

Mixed wildflower seeds were sown in grassland to attract bees, butterflies and insects and four nest boxes were made to support a variety of nesting birds. 

Heather Patrick, environment adviser at UK Power Networks, said: “We’re trying to provide more space for nature through our Green Action Plan and have set a target of improving the biodiversity potential of 100 sites by up to 30%. 

“This project provides a great opportunity for our employees to engage with nature, whilst promoting biodiversity across our substation sites. We can all take actions that will help to slow or reverse the loss of biodiversity, including supporting local conservation initiatives.”

Volunteer Francesca Maran, principal solicitor at UK Power Networks, said: “It was a complete success. Everyone had a brilliant time learning about different trees and habitats and doing different activities to support wildlife and our Green Action Plan. We built bird boxes, cleared plants and trees and enhanced the habitat. It was a lovely day.”

James Simpson, ADAS ecologist said: “It was great to work with such an enthusiastic group from UK Power Networks who really wanted to engage in practical conservation tasks that will help to support local wildlife across UK Power Networks’ estate.”