Care for the environment is extremely important to us and, wherever possible, we avoid areas protected nationally and internationally for their environmental value.
We are continuing to carry out environmental surveys on land that may be affected by the new connection and this will help shape the detailed design. Some ecological surveys need to be carried out at specific times of the year and our environmental team is talking to landowners and wildlife and conservation bodies about those. We are working closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including local authorities, Natural England, English Heritage, the Environment Agency and others as we look at the detail of our proposals.
The work we are doing is formally known as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and the results of this work are being taken into account when designing the connection to ensure that any effect on the environment and local community is kept to a minimum wherever possible.
How we undertake the EIA is being shaped by Thematic Group discussions and we asked the Planning Inspectorate to give an opinion on this in March 2013.
In preparation for the final phase of consultation before we submit our planning application, we will produce a report to show the results of our EIA based on the information available at that time. This report is called the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) and we will be keen to hear your comments on this during that consultation period.
The findings of the EIA and feedback on the PEIR will be presented in the Environmental Statement that will accompany our application to the Planning Inspectorate for Development Consent.
This Environmental Statement is required under The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009