ESB

Networks Retired substation

About the case study

Project: ESB Networks retired substation

 

Location: Ireland

 

Cost: Circa 50 000 EUR for the civil and landscaping costs. As this approach supplanted the standard method of removal of all standing infrastructure, site levelling and stoning of compound, costs were approximately half of the typical budget for the decommissioning for such a retired site.

 

Objectives: Trialled an alternative decommissioning method enhance site biodiversity and decrease costs from the standard approach which makes a site safe and surfaces with stone for an average of 100,000 EUR.

 

Measures undertaken: Walled-up the defunct control building and incorporated small slits for bat (Chiroptera species) access into roof crevices. Fitted nesting boxes for barn owl (Tyto alba) and kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) to the retired steel towers. Sowed native flower species and planted native trees around the site. Removed non-native Leylandii trees and retained the deadwood on site for insects, fungi, and lichen.

 

Results: The approach secured the site, successfully established vegetation and increased site utilisation by birds and pollinators, and was significantly cheaper (50 000 EUR) than the standard decommissioning process.

 

Challenges:

  • Protracted dry weather following initial planting works required additional watering of saplings that was not originally envisaged and led to failures; and
  • Aligning biodiversity measures with the safety, access, and long-term maintenance requirements of sites.

 

Success factors:

  • A proactive and iterative engagement with the contractor;
  • Reducing waste from site and demands for inputs (e.g. stone);
  • Sourcing local native plants and seeds; and
  • Opportunities to deliver outreach to local communities and schools on biodiversity actions.

Images copyright:  ESB