As an owner and operator of critical national infrastructure, we at National Grid know that millions of people are relying on us, now more than ever, to keep the lights on and the gas flowing. We have engineers working hard to ensure energy can be supplied safely and efficiently to hospitals, schools, businesses and homes across the country.
Many roles across our business have been designated as ‘key worker’ roles by the government and, at a time when everyone is being asked to stay at home wherever possible, some of our people are out there working to ensure our NHS can care for the sick, businesses and schools can continue to operate, and that people can work from home in these unusual circumstances.
The Hinkley Connection Project is a critical national infrastructure project. These are works that have been given government approval to continue to ensure the future running of the network.
Following robust risk assessments and a comprehensive review of our programme of works, we are now, together with our contractors, continuing to progress with the critical elements of the project, in line with current Government guidance on construction activity.
We have significantly reduced our workforce and those on site are working under stringent site operating procedures to safeguard the remaining workforce, their colleagues, their families and the UK population.
In relation to the underground cable works between Nailsea and Portishead, this week works have been focused on installation of additional hand washing facilities, deep cleaning of offices, installation of extra welfare cabins and additional parking provision at the compounds, so that guidelines around social distancing can be met.
To meet seasonal working restrictions, we must also restart works in Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve. Activity will continue as per the agreed programme of works, though progress will undoubtedly be slower. This means that next week we’ll be working on the bellmouths on Sheepway and will continue with preparation for the temporary haul road, plus ongoing soil and ecological surveys in preparation for the new overhead lines. Between now and September there will also be trenching and ducting work and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) within the reserve.
We take our responsibilities to our employees and the communities in which we are working very seriously. In this challenging and fast-moving situation, we are endeavouring to keep local communities informed via our project website and parish and town councils.
We are placing additional signage at our sites to inform the public of the continuation of critical works during the COVID-19 outbreak and direct people to contact our community relations helplines if they have any questions or concerns.
If you have any questions about the works or would like further information on the safety measures we are taking, please come back to me.
Community Relations Team
National Grid Hinkley Connection Project
T: 0800 377 7347