(English) How SafeLane battled birds and bombs in the Orkney Islands

(English) In 2020, SafeLane Global’s UK land team took on an atypical project in the Orkney Islands. While the services provided were normal (unexploded ordnance risk mitigation ), some extra requirements brought a fresh challenge...

How SafeLane battled birds and bombs in the Orkney Islands

In 2020, SafeLane Global’s UK land team took on an atypical project in the Orkney Islands.  While the services provided were normal (unexploded ordnance risk mitigation – it’s our bread and butter), some of the considerations to ensure the safe delivery of these services represented a fresh challenge for the team.

One of SafeLane’s sustainable value streams is enhancing environments.  On this particular project, to enhance the environment meant considering the nesting patterns of local birdlife. 

Such an environmental concern isn’t typical in London or the south of England where much of SafeLane’s work is centered, but to support the delivery of a renewable energy initiative in the Orkney Islands it was a critical planning consideration.

Supporting the enhancement of transmission connections in Orkney

The UK Land team worked to support improved transmission connections between Caithness and the Orkney Islands.

Ground works will need to be carried out where the connection will make land – and it has been SafeLane’s job to ensure the ground is safe for the planned intrusive works.

Ultimately, our clients wanted to mitigate the risk of encountering UXO early on in the project lifecycle.  Through so doing they could be assured the ground is safe for their workers, and that unexpectedly encountering ordnance will not impact timelines later on.

SafeLane’s UXO services in Orkney

The work site had been confirmed as at medium risk of UXO contamination thanks to an earlier threat assessment, so to ensure the site was safe the team conducted:

How we worked with the wildlife to ensure the environment and ecology were protected

The Orkney Islands have rare birds that come to nest there during certain times of the year.  SafeLane needed to work around this nesting schedule to ensure the birds were not disturbed as this is both a legal requirement and a client objective.

This planning and timing challenge and the remote location of the work site made for some interesting travel arrangements.  For example, the planning team had to keep up to date with mainland and local ferry times as they change by the season.  They also had to keep right on top of the birds’ schedules.

Fortunately, SafeLane’s planning teams are the best in the business and they are used to staying on top of a lot of moving parts and they took the birds, the (potential) bombs and the infrequent ferries in their stride.

Although working around wildlife isn’t something that usually factors into most of SafeLane’s projects, the explosive ordnance disposal team onsite in Orkney really enjoyed getting to know the locals! 

Picture of a brown shetland pony with a black main by a gate in a field - photographed on project in the Orkney Islands

2 Puffins pictures on the rocks near the beach in the Orkney Islands

Whatever your project requirements are, and wherever you need us to get to, SafeLane has the skills and experience to rapidly deploy to mitigate UXO threats in all land and marine environments.

Contact us today to discuss your project.

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