How can an energy business protect bees?

SSE recognises that the generation of electricity can have a direct impact on the local environment. Therefore, they are committed to actively managing their activities to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive ones. Recently, SSE has taken action to provide a new habitat for a rare type of bumblebee.

Saving a species

The Great yellow bumblebee is amongst the rarest of bees in the UK with its numbers declining by about 90% in the past 50 years. One of the bees’ last stronghold is Caithness, in the far north west of Scotland, where they can still be found across the region. The flower-rich grassy meadows in the region have different flowering plants, such as bird’s-foot trefoil, red clover and knapweed, which provide the ideal habitat for the Great yellow bumblebee.

Bee-ing responsible in Caithness

In 2017, SSE took action to provide a new habitat for the Great yellow bumblebee at one of its substations in Caithness, planting a flower rich landscape as part of the Dounraey-Mybster and Spittal substation projects. After discussions with local representatives from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, SSE realised that there was a great opportunity to make their construction sites more bee-friendly by restoring and creating habitats.

Flower power

Around 10 hectares, or roughly 14 football fields, of earth has been re-seeded around the substation sites with a tailored wildflower mix containing the right plants that can tolerate the acidic peaty soil and windy conditions, such as red clover and common knapweed. By providing a different mix of flowers, including early flowering plants and nesting and hibernation places, it is hoped that other species will also benefit from this biodiversity enhancement.

Biodiversity buzz

The team behind SSE’s Thurso South substation was left buzzing after their innovative scheme to protect the local bumblebee population recieved three awards at the prestigious BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards 2018.

This story shows how SSE supports Goal 15: Life on Land, specifically Target 15.5: “Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.”

About SSE

SSE, formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy, is one of the largest energy companies in the UK and Ireland. Headquartered in Perth, Scotland, SSE is committed to managing its impact on the local environment.

Commitments, Action and Progress from SSE

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