SSEN Transmission has won two Scottish Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice in recognition of its Great Yellow Bumblebee biodiversity project at Thurso South substation in Caithness and its osprey mitigation works near Alyth in Perthshire.

At a ceremony on Monday 11 March, Balfour Beatty and SSEN’s Thurso South project team scooped the Gold Construction Industry Sector award for their efforts to improve local flora and fauna habitats for the Great Yellow Bumblebee during the construction of the Thurso South substation, which formed a key part of SSEN Transmission’s flagship Caithness-Moray project. During project development and consultation with key stakeholders, it was recognised that enhancements to the consented landscape plan could present an opportunity to further support local biodiversity. 

After engaging and seeking feedback from local wildlife experts, changes to the proposed wild flower and tree species mix were introduced which has successfully encouraged and supported the local Great Yellow Bumblebee population, a rare endemic species found only in the North of Scotland.

Richard Baldwin, SSEN Transmission’s Head of Environment stated:

“We’re delighted that our Thurso South substation has been recognised at this year’s Green Apple Awards. As a responsible developer it’s vital that our supply chain shares our commitment to protect and, where possible, enhance the local environment. We’d like to congratulate Balfour Beatty for their role in the successful completion of the substation, in which they have embraced our strong environmental credentials.”

A Silver Utilities Sector award was also won by SSEN Transmission’s project team leading on reinforcement works to Alyth substation, in recognition of efforts to mitigate construction impact on local Ospreys, by erecting a new home for the birds – a 25m tower and two perching posts close to the birds’ existing nest.

Upon completion of the ‘new build’ home, the ospreys were given the choice of their original nest, which was left in place on SSEN Transmission’s tower, or the newly created nesting platform.  Much to the surprise and delight of the project team, the ospreys ignored their old nest and went straight to the purpose-built platform where they have subsequently bred successfully.  The old redundant nest was removed the following winter. Ospreys have now laid eggs on the platform every year since it was erected in 2014 and nine ospreys have successfully fledged from the platform over four successful breeding seasons.

Speaking about the award-winning work, Keith Thomson, Lead Environmental Project Manager, SSEN Transmission, said:

“We’re all delighted that our projects have won gold and silver awards at the Scottish Green Apple Awards. As a responsible developer and in line with our wider sustainability ambitions as a business, we endeavour to ensure that our developments have a minimal impact on the local communities and environments in which we operate and provide additional benefits where possible.

“These projects demonstrate our commitment to the environment in which we operate, and we are extremely proud to be formally recognised for our efforts by such a high-profile environmental organisation like Green Apple.”

To learn more about SSEN Transmission’s work with the ospreys in Alyth, click here.

To learn more about SSEN Transmission’s biodiversity works at Thurso South substation, click here.

The Green Apple Awards ceremony was held on 11 March; for more details, please visit www.thegreenorganisation.info.

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