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Environment / Nesting gulls hold up pipeline work

A photo of the pipeline work taken earlier this year by Jim Mullay.

WORK on laying new water pipes in Lerwick was affected earlier this summer due to nesting birds.

Scottish Water said it imposed 50 metre “buffer zones” between construction activity and the nests until chicks were able to fly away.

The organisation is laying new pipeline at Staney Hill in Lerwick.

A number of nesting gulls were noticed during a walkover with Shetland Amenity Trust earlier in the year, with mitigation measures put in place until early June.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said: “In the process of installing just under two miles of new pipeline across Staney Hill, above Lerwick, our project team identified a number of gulls nesting close to the route, including several herring gull nests, a great black-backed gull nest and a common gull nest.

“After consultation with Shetland Amenity Trust, measures were put in place to ensure the nests were not damaged and that disturbance was minimised by maintaining a 50 metre buffer zone between construction activity and the nests.

“Work was able to continue on other areas of the site for around a month until the chicks left the nests in June and the measures in place could be lifted.”

It is against the law to damage or destroy an active nest or a nesting bird, regardless of the species.

Scottish Water announced last year that it would be splashing out millions on work which would help to provide capacity for planned housing growth at Staney Hill.

A new gravity pipeline will connect Sandy Loch treatment works in the south end of Lerwick to the existing network at Holmsgarth Brae, meaning there will no longer be any need to pump water over Staney Hill.

Money is also being invested to replace two existing steel drinking water storage tanks at Staney Hill with a new twin compartment tank with greater storage capacity at Sandy Loch.