A key part of National Grid’s role is to achieve a balance between meeting the country’s future energy needs while protecting some of the UK’s most treasured landscapes and wild areas. This is especially the case on one of National Grid’s latest projects, where it has been asked to provide a connection into the electricity transmission network for the proposed new 3.4GW nuclear power station, Moorside, in West Cumbria and to export energy produced by a number of offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.
Following an extensive consultation exercise, National Grid decided to take forward a connection south from Moorside, across the Barrow Peninsula and through a tunnel under Morecambe Bay which is planned to come up near Heysham in Lancashire to connect into the existing network.
The coastline around Morecambe Bay is unique and highly sensitive, and has been designated as an internationally important area for birds. Given this, HiDef Aerial Surveying Limited (HiDef) has been commissioned to provide a series of ultra-high resolution digital video aerial surveys across Morecambe Bay to ensure that the forthcoming environmental impact assessment (EIA) has the best possible data with which to consider the potential effects of the construction and operation of the tunnel under Morecambe Bay on this highly important area.
Talking about the project, HiDef’s Environment and Statistics Manager, Andy Webb, said:
"Morecambe Bay is one of the UK’s most diverse intertidal wetland areas, being home to a number of internationally important breeding and overwintering bird populations. While the actual effects of the construction and operation of the Morecambe Bay tunnel are likely to be small in magnitude and duration, it is of course only right that the assessment uses the best possible data and that is where we come in.
As a Company, HiDef is pleased to be working with key organisations like National Grid and SLR Consulting on this project and we look forward to a long and positive working relationship."
SLR Consulting’s Steve Coates, who is managing the survey programme on behalf of National Grid, responded:
"The Morecambe Bay tunnel is a further step in the UK’s drive to keep the lights on, by providing effective connections from where the power is generated to where it is needed.
It is only through undertaking environmental assessment based on reliable data that we can ensure sustainable development and so HiDef were always our natural choice for the collection of digital aerial data."