33kV electricity route through AONBs -

33kV electricity route through AONBs -

When a 33kV electricity route was proposed between two substations - with every potential route passing through areas of outstanding natural beauty - we were commissioned by Scottish and Southern Energy to carry out an environmental appraisal of various route options and identify the least environmentally damaging approach.

The potential options for the 6km route between Fernhurst and Langley Court substations were all located within the Sussex Downs and East Hampshire AONBs, which are also included within the proposed South Downs National Park. The preferred route passed through the Chapel Common SSSI, known to support protected species such as sand lizards and smooth snakes. A scheduled ancient monument in the form of a Roman road also needed to be taken into account.

After carrying out an ecological desk study, an extended phase one habitat survey, a visual appraisal and a cultural heritage and archaeological desk survey, we consulted widely with stakeholders including the South Downs Joint Committee, Natural England, English Nature, AONB Committees, the local planning authority and the County Archaeologist. A mitigation strategy and ecological watching brief helped to make sure that the preferred route combining overhead line and underground cable could go ahead with the least possible environmental impact.