SSEN’s £1m Chobham investment considers best course for nature and the network

Skylark sitting in heather

The above image – which is courtesy of the RSPB - shows a ground-nesting bird in heather, similar to those found in the local area.

A £1 million investment by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to improve and strengthen the resilience of the electricity network serving a Surrey Heath village has now been completed on time and on budget.

SSEN’s engineers carried out the improvement works in and around the village and civil parish of Chobham, where they dismantled four kilometres of the overhead power network to replace it with underground cable and, in turn, boost the electricity supply to over 2,000 customers, including businesses and homes, in the area. 

In addition to upgrading and undergrounding the network infrastructure, the project team had to carefully consider some of Chobham’s other residents, as SSEN’s Network Construction Manager, John Wright explains: “SSEN prides itself on being a considerate constructor and that includes taking into account the environment and all of its inhabitants.

“When we began planning this upgrade project, we were aware that we would be working through a heather covered section of land that was home to ground-nesting birds. As well as ensuring that we weren’t in the area during breeding, nesting or hatching times for the birds, our engineers hand dug this particular section, as the usual machinery required for undergrounding would have damaged the heather beds, and disturbed the birds and their natural habitat.”

Network reliability is a key priority for SSEN and the customers its serves. Following a series of engagements with its customers SSEN took the decision to make the investment to further improve network resilience, and future-proof its infrastructure for customer’s changing demands. This is part of SSEN’s commitment to taking a “you said, we did” approach to investing in its vital infrastructure. 

John added: “SSEN’s project team would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community of Chobham for their patience as we worked to upgrade and strengthen their power supply. 

“We understand the importance of minimising disruption during works and enabling the provision of a safe and reliable supply of electricity, particularly to those who live and work in Surrey’s more rural communities.”