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, replacing them with underground cables and making changes to Portishead substation and nearby overhead lines. We’re also preparing to build the new line of T-pylons from Sandford to Seabank.

To view the map showing our work between Nailsea and Portishead, please click here.

Installing underground cables

Together with our contractor, Murphy, we’ve completed the temporary entrance to our construction area for the underground cables from Sheepway. We are now progressing with building the haul road and digging trenches and installing cable ducts through the reserve.

Restricted access, use of footpaths and bridle paths until 2025

To keep public and staff safe during our work in the reserve, we’ll need to temporarily restrict access to our construction areas and close some footpaths and bridle paths at different times in the programme.

  • To see restricted access to Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve from Sheepway, please click here.
  • Suspension of the car parking area on Sheepway until completion of the work in 2025.

All other entrances to the reserve will remain open and the car parking area on Wharf Lane is unaffected.

We’re working with North Somerset Council to coordinate access to Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve and public information boards are located at the reserve entrances to keep all users up to date.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by these temporary restrictions.

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. 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.

Preparing to start work at Portishead substation

WPD and their contractor, Balfour Beatty, are currently 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.

Removing the existing pylons

Once the underground cables are in place and operational, we’ll take down two lines of 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.

Keeping you up to date

We’ve placed information boards on the entrances and at other key locations in the reserve – these are updated to keep you informed and up to date on our activity.

We value and welcome your interest in the project – Contact us.


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