We worked with our client, Carillion Utilities, to facilitate the construction of an onshore cable route for the offshore Dudgeon Wind Farm.
There were numerous badger setts that were within 100m of the cable route. One, an annex sett, which unlike the others was within the footprint of the cable route, needed to be closed and then destructively searched under licence. Usually, the closure and destructive search of an annex sett requires the construction of an artificial badger sett. Due to time constraints and landowner permissions this was not an option. So, following close liaison between Thomson Habitats, Carillion and Natural England, a novel approach was proposed.
The annex sett was temporarily closed under licence, and monitored for a period of 21 days. Once this 21-day period was over, Carillion carried out horizontal directional drilling under the active sett. under an ecological watching brief.
Upon completion of the drilling, the badger exclusion measures were removed, and the sett was re-opened.
What we did
- We carried out initial badger surveys.
- We liaised with Natural England and Carillion Utilities in proposing the novel solution to carry out horizontal direction drilling and temporary sett closure, under licence.
- We closed a nine-entrance annex badger sett.
- We closed a single-entrance outlier sett.
- We monitored gated entrances over a three week period.
- We supervised the horizontal directional drill to ensure that no damage was done to the badger sett.
- We provided dedicated mapping services including our award-winning interactive mapping platform TIM to collate ecological project data.
To our knowledge, this is the first time that Natural England have licensed a horizontal directional drill under an active badger sett within the UK.
Our novel approach helped to save Carillion and their client over £500k. This was due to not having to pay land access fees, and cost savings achieved through a reduction in the works programme.