Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve

Forthcoming works and environmental mitigations

In April 2021, we started work in the nature reserve to make changes to the Western Power Distribution (WPD) substation and replace pylons to the east of the substation with underground cables.

Our first activity is to extend the existing temporary construction road accessed from Sheepway across Wharf Lane and into the port. Once complete, we’ll use the access to:

  • install new underground cables and remove four WPD pylons to the east of Portishead substation
  • build a new pylon to join the new underground cables to the overhead lines
  • prepare work areas for constructing new T-pylons and removing WPD pylons.

Access to the nature reserve during the work is being maintained, but to keep everyone safe Wharf Lane will be subject to temporary closures. Advance notices with further details will be displayed.

Later this year, we’ll start to remove the 9 km of overhead line, between Nailsea and Portishead substation. During 2023, we’ll remove the second line of pylons that runs from Sandford to Avonmouth.

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

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.

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.