Installing pipelines or high voltage power cables underground can involve disturbance of soils across many kilometres of the countryside. Soils can be damaged during soil handling and reinstatement, adversely affecting natural ecosystems or agricultural production. Field drains might be severed and need repair or replacement. The impacts can be minimised by careful evaluation of soil and ground conditions prior to installation, development of a soil management plan and careful supervision of on-site operations.
IPSS members from a specialist UK soil consultancy are undertaking pre-construction soil surveys along a 47 km route that will carry the onshore power connection from a wind farm off the coast of Norfolk to a substation inland. The results will be used to develop a Soil Management Plan for the project, and soil conductivity measurements being carried out by the soil scientists will help in design of cable insulation and the risk of soil warming affecting the growth of agricultural crops.