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Periodically, it is necessary to trim back trees and remove thick vegetation under electric lines to allow for proper maintenance work and ensure distribution reliability and safety. Even though trained personnel with skilled knowledge of woodland management conduct this work, some landowners express environmental concerns relating to lost habitat and visual impact. At Northern Powergrid, these concerns have led to a concept known as Eco-Corridors. The aim of the Eco-Corridor is to complete necessary trimming in a way that is beneficial to the environment and also pleasing to the eye. Low growing vegetation such as hazel, dog rose and field maples are planted by Northern Powergrid in the Eco-Corridor to enhance the appearance of the right of way, provide additional habitat and reduce tree trimming requirements.
The Eco-Corridor concept has been put into practice with great success. In one case, an overhead line in place for nearly 30 years had a dense vegetation cover growing beneath it. In the past, the landowner had rejected attempts to clear the corridor, citing environmental impacts. After explaining the new Eco-Corridor approach, the landowner agreed to let the company proceed. Trees were carefully shaped and pruned, and all brash wood and mulch was reused. Existing pathways and trails were shored up and new paths were developed with the mulch and wood chips. The landowner and company then agreed to a planting scheme that enhanced habitat and encouraged new wildlife, but with vegetation that would not grow high enough to impact the lines.
When a major construction project was required at one of its substation sites, Northern Powergrid discovered this same area was home to a large colony of bats. Realizing the dwindling numbers of bats in the country and the importance of protecting these unique and beneficial creatures, Northern Powergrid stopped the work and reassessed the situation. The company solicited the assistance of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, a bat expert organization. With a little help from Northern Powergrid employees, the trees around the Humberston substation were transformed into a new roosting area for the local bat colony by installing a number of bat houses.
With these new homes in place, the bats had a safe place to roost and the work could continue without impacting the colony.
Avoiding Bird Collisions
Depending upon their location, overhead electric lines can result in problems for birds due to line collisions. This is particularly true where lines are located in the same vicinity as established bird flight patterns. The situation was researched and a number of trials conducted to find the best solution. The answer was discovered in a line attachment placed on selected segments of transmission line. The line attachments are visible to the birds, allowing them to avoid the path of the line. After successfully implementing this solution, the company received another inquiry by a customer who expressed concern over swans landing in a waterway in a nature park close to a transmission line. Company officials worked with the park rangers, and bird diverters soon were installed on the line. The swans now can see the line well in advance of landing, avoiding collisions.
Environmental Management System Public Statement
CalEnergy Gas Ltd., a London-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company affiliate, has developed a Health, Safety and Environmental Management System to ensure safe, environmentally responsible and effective performance of all its activities. CalEnergy Gas's most recent Environmental Management System Public Statement regarding the company's offshore operations is available to download
To view or download the statement, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your hard drive. You can download a free copy of Acrobat Reader by visiting the Adobe Download Site