Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve

Work at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve

As part of the Hinkley Connection Project, we are working with Western Power Distribution (WPD) to make changes to the local electricity distribution network.

Our work at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve includes removing some of the existing pylons and replacing them with underground cables, making changes to Portishead substation and nearby overhead lines, and building a new line of T-pylons from Sandford to Seabank. This map shows where these works are taking place.

Footpaths, rights of way, and parking until 2025

To keep everyone safe during our work in the reserve, some footpaths will be subject to temporary closures.

  • Sheepway – the car parking area on Sheepway is suspended until completion of the work in 2025. The car parking area on Wharf Lane is unaffected.

We are sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding.

We are working with North Somerset Council to coordinate our work in the reserve. Project information boards are displayed on the entrances and at key locations in the reserve – these are updated to keep you informed of our activities.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We welcome your interest in the project – to register for updates and more information, please contact us.

Environmental and ecological mitigation work

We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and we’re working closely with Natural England and local authorities to reduce the impact of our activities as best we can across the project. We have a team of experts working with us to make sure local habitats, plants and animals are identified and protected before and throughout our construction activity. We take special steps to move them out of harm’s way or to find ways of working so that they are not disturbed by our activities.

During 2018 and 2019, we carried out several ecological surveys and implemented schemes in Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve.

To protect the nesting sites for species of protected birds in the reserve, we’re taking special care to prevent disturbance and to safeguard their nesting sites. We’ve created special buffer zones and relocated designated barn owl boxes. During late September 2019, some of the existing barn owl boxes were relocated and replaced at a ratio of 2:1, with a total of four new barn owl boxes installed at the reserve.

To prevent disturbance to wintering birds, our main construction activities in the reserve will be carried out between April and September. This excludes vegetation removal works, and with permission from the Local Planning Authority, we may undertake minor construction activity for a limited duration.

Other work to protect and reduce disruption to local habitats and animals includes installing temporary exclusion fencing, carrying out surveys and daily checks to identify and prevent protected species from entering our construction areas.

Before starting construction in each area, our team of experts carry out thorough searches and any species found are safely moved to designated sites within the reserve – this is known as translocation. To ensure they don’t return to the construction area, we need to manage vegetation by cutting grasslands, scrub and hedgerows down to ground level, including trees and hedgerows where necessary.

On completion of construction, and following discussion and agreement with relevant landowners, any vegetation we remove will be reinstated in its original location or as close to the route as possible.

This important work is being carried out sensitively by our contractors and is being monitored by North Somerset Council.

Installing underground cables

Together with our contractors, Murphy, we are installing cable ducts as we prepare to install new underground electricity cables between Nailsea and Portishead substation. We expect to complete this work by September 2021.

Preparing to start work at Portishead substation

WPD and their contractor, Balfour Beatty, are carrying out ecological mitigation and clearing some vegetation and hedgerows, as well as erecting stock fencing as we prepare to start work at Portishead substation and on the nearby overhead lines from April 2021.

Removing the existing pylons

Once the new underground cables are in place and operational, we’ll remove the two lines of existing pylons owned by WPD.

Building T-pylons

Balfour Beatty is the appointed contractor for building the T-pylons. They are currently carrying out surveys along the route of a new overhead line, including surveys in the reserve.

We will keep our website up to date with information about our work in the reserve and we’ll publish more information when it is available.

The programme for our work between Nailsea and Portishead substation is below.