Both onshore and offshore surveys have been integral to the development of Sofia since early environmental impact assessment work to inform the original development consent application. As the projects moves through its construction phase, surveys will continue to remain an integral part of our activity.
The first five ornithology aerial-LiDAR surveys to collect data on kittiwake flight height and abundance were completed in 2021 with the seven remaining surveys to be flown between March and August 2022. This will be the second and final year of our pre-construction ornithology surveys.
In 2021, the first phase of investigations of potential UXO and archaeology features was undertaken in the nearshore area in advance of landfall horizontal directional drilling (HDD) works set to take place in summer 2022. Around June this year the second phase of this UXO and archaeology campaign will get underway along the remainder of the export cable corridor and at the array site. An ROV will investigate potential UXOs, and several possible archaeology features and will inspect an additional aid to navigation buoy location. If any UXOs are identified a clearance campaign will follow, with low order deflagration the primary method of disposal.
The onshore surveys are now complete in readiness for the start of construction of the onshore converter station and civils works on the onshore cable corridor, underway in Spring 2022. In 2021 these surveys included a team of onshore archaeologists from Durham University’s Archaeological Services (DUAS) carrying out excavation and recording work at locations along the cable route, from landfall near the coast to the Wilton onshore converter station site.