Scottish Power Renewables test new grip blocking method

January 8, 2016

Scottish Power Renewables has been test running a different method of grip blocking at their Black Law windfarm in Lanarkshire - one of the largest windfarms in the UK. In the past, they have found that building peat dams at the sufficient height, width and spacing to be effective creates too damaging an impact on the adjacent peatland, as well being both slow to work and expensive to build.

Black Law Windfarm - Credit Scottish Power RenewablesTo try address this, they have come up with a new method of blocking drains and are testing it over the winter months at Black Law. This new method uses a low ground pressure excavator, which straddles the drain (of circa 40-80 cm depth) and faces up the channel. Using a 90 cm wide bucket the machine carefully pulls 3-5 bucket widths of peat from the channel cross-section towards the machine itself. This creates an elevated ridge. Peter Robson, Senior Ecologist for Scottish Power Renewables says "it's a bit like wrinkling a carpet." Each blockage takes the machine operator less than two minutes to build.

Whilst a few potential issues have been identified, including limitations related to drain size (drains greater than one metre depth or width may not be appropriate), other concerns such as unknown performance during drought conditions and their long-term stability should be addressed via the monitoring Scottish Power Renewables will be conducting throughout the year.

So far however, the utilites and energy producer are pleased with the initial results, with the new method of grip blocking fast to create and inherently strong. The method also limits the exposure of bare beat and avoids the need for a borrow pit, whilst the blocks can also be made very wide to block an entire oxidised cross-section.

Lets hope the method proves to be robust.

Cors Caron Copywrite Drew Buckley Photography
Conference 2022 - Registration openRegistration for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference taking place live in Aberystwyth…
Mar Estate © Mark Nicolson
100 Project Milestone for the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code now has 100 projects registered under the UK La
Peatland Code version 1.2
New version of the Peatland Code launchedAn update to the Peatland Code, including a separate guidance document, is now available.
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
Peat-free image
Peat-free Horticulture – A reality and an opportunityWe have reached a key moment for bringing about a transition in the way we garden and supply…
PC Projects Feb 22
An update on the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code continues to grow rapidly with 79 projects now registered and 10,300 ha of…
The new CNPA Peatland ACTION team
Unlocking contractor capacity to lock up carbon in the CairngormsThe Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) Peatland ACTION Officers have facilitated over 2,…
Moors for the Future Partnership: Cleaner water video
Moors for the Future Partnership presents: Blanket bogs are worth protecting video seriesMoors for the Future Partnership has developed five videos to help people understand the multiple…
Restoration works at East Gill in Nidderdale
Yorkshire Peat Partnership celebrates another successful yearAs Yorkshire Peat Partnership (YPP) heads into the new restoration season, they take a moment to…
The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland: World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day 2022: 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' launched as e-bookTo celebrate World Wetlands Day 2022, 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' by the IUCN UK…
South West Peatland Partnership vacancies
South West Peatland Partnership job vacanciesThe South West Peatland Partnership (Exeter, Devon) have 8 job vacancies available to support their…