Viking Link access road in Lincolnshire achieves CEEQUAL Excellent

Viking Link access road in Lincolnshire achieves CEEQUAL Excellent

CEEQUAL provided a framework for the Viking Link project, incorporating sustainability and carbon considerations across the project and business.


Viking Link runs between the British and Danish transmission systems connecting at Bicker Fen substation in Lincolnshire and Revsing substation in southern Jutland, Denmark. The construction of the access road to the site in Lincolnshire was awarded a CEEQUAL (now known as BREEAM Infrastructure) rating of Excellent.


Viking Link is a 1400MW high voltage direct current (DC) electricity link. When complete, it will be approximately 760km long and will enable electricity exchange between Great Britain and Denmark.


The project involves:

  • Construction of a converter station in each country

  • Installation of submarine and underground cables between each converter station

  • Underground cables between the converter station and substation in each country

The interconnector will enable more effective use of renewable energy, access to sustainable electricity generation and improved security of electricity supplies. It will also provide socioeconomic benefits to both countries.

The Viking Link access road

This assessment covers the scope of the construction of a new 2.8 km long access road serving the Bicker Fen site in Lincolnshire. It provides access to the converter station from the existing public highway network (A52). This includes:

  • A new junction with the A52

  • A new bridge crossing the Hammond Beck

  • Culvert crossings of other drains

  • A new junction with North Ing Drove.

The access road is up to six metres wide, enabling two-way traffic flow. It is designed to accommodate heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and abnormal indivisible loads (AILs). The construction of this access road is designated as a sub-project of the main Viking Link project.


Previous Siemens Energy interconnector projects have not applied for a CEEQUAL rating. Viking Link wanted to be the first project of this type to achieve this sustainability award.

It aimed to learn from the access road phase of the project, in order to set a minimum standard for implementation of the CEEQUAL framework for the rest of the project.

Further, it was felt that by using CEEQUAL, it could be communicated to the public and local community that the Viking Link team is delivering a project that is sustainable to a recognised standard, whilst providing confidence to clients and end users that Siemens Energy is able to deliver sustainability-driven projects.

Overcoming issues during construction

Traffic interference and disruption to the local roads and residents was overcome through programme sequencing to construct the bridge in parallel with the access road, minimising duration of works and preventing vehicles from using local village roads for a long period.

During the Covid pandemic, issues with staffing and travel were overcome through new procedures such as testing, temperature checks and masks. These measures allowed works to continue.

Ecology constraints involving badgers and nesting birds were overcome through surveys and active badger management and mitigation, utilising the ecology calendar for nesting birds in hedgerow.

Archaeological surveys needing to be completed before construction was overcome through trial trenching and investigation works.


This project utilised best practice and innovative solutions in several key areas.

A lifecycle assessment was completed - a first for a Siemens Energy interconnector project. This will improve knowledge and understanding on similar projects.

A hydrogen fuel cell was used for off-grid power supply instead of a diesel generator. In operation, no CO2, NOx, SOx or particulate matter were emitted. Noise was also significantly reduced in comparison to a diesel generator. This reduced CO2 by around 30 tonnes over eight months and reduced any negative impacts on health and the surrounding environment.

Soil management and reuse was also optimised following best practice guidance.

Communities and stakeholders

As a project team, Viking Link have carried out regular letter drops around the neighbouring houses and have provided a phone number that can be called for any project related queries, complaints etc. There are also regular community liaison groups which involve members of the project team and key stakeholders such as the local parish, district councils and ministers.

Additionally, there have been frequent communications with the IDB, Black Sluice to ensure that all drainage designs meet environmental standards. Landowners have also been notified of all works and the project team have spent a lot of time talking to the them and ensuring that they are happy.

Finally, Viking Link have good links with local schools and colleges, although the face-to-face activities were unable to go ahead due to COVID. The first post-Covid STEM activity was carried out at Boston College in May 2021. There are plans for more to take place and Siemens Energy will be rolling out a virtual work experience programme.


Viking Link have achieved carbon reduction through reducing virgin material use. The design change of a v-ditch drain in replacement of a filter drain (also known as a French drain) reduced the need for 13,000 m3 of stone capping, 28,600 m2 of geocomposite, 13,000 m3 of sand, 43 tonnes of “twinwall” piping and saved 529 tonnes of CO2.

Additionally, the landowner has requested that the excavated sub-soil material from the V-Ditch excavations is retained on his land for re-use. This avoids the need to remove the excess material from site, providing sustainability benefits. The appropriate consenting has been sought to enable this measure.

17,900 m3 of excavated soil has been reused throughout the project.

The completion of the lifecycle assessment is the first life cycle assessment completed for a Siemens Energy project. This will give the company a baseline for further interconnector projects.


Viking link have procured a hydrogen fuel cell to provide zero-emissions power for the welfare facilities during construction of the Access Road. GeoPura leased a 250kW, zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell powered industrial electrical power unit for eight months. This fuel cell was integrated with a combined heat and power (CHP) unit to utilise the by-product of hot water in drying rooms, kitchens, and toilets. This measure has removed all harmful emissions and noise from the construction site and has saved around 30 tonnes of CO2.

We are proud to have achieved a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent for the first interim assessment on the Viking Link project. This is evidence of our commitment to sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and making a positive impact on the local communities and environment where we operate.
– Sarah Handley, Head of Environment Protection & Sustainability at Siemens Energy


The use of CEEQUAL shaped many strategic decisions and considerations within the project, with project decisions considering not just costs but also sustainability and carbon reduction. CEEQUAL was influential in the following ways:

  • Promoted the use of the hydrogen fuel cell

  • Driver of sustainable ideas from the project team

  • Promoted implementation of carbon saving measures

  • Greater consideration given to the project’s environmental impact

  • Assistance with LCA from a suitably qualified life cycle assessment practitioner

  • Greater consideration of waste

  • Procurement of more efficient plant machinery and equipment

  • Implementation of long-term biodiversity strategy, compensating for small amounts of hedgerow removal i.e. replanting of trees and landscaping post construction.

CEEQUAL provided a framework for the project, enabling sustainability and carbon considerations to be incorporated across the project and business. This ensured that sustainable practice was realised in the project and also helped to communicate the team’s commitment to sustainable outcomes to the wider community.

The achievements so far include:

  • 30% reduction achieved in kgCO2 equivalent of embodied carbon emissions

  • 17,900 m3 of excavated materials re-used

  • 100% of total waste diverted from landfill


Summary Viking Link


Lincolnshire, UK and Jutland, Denmark

Jess Lewington, Siemens Energy Ltd

Andrew Swain, Future Green
CEEQUAL rating:
Excellent (86.1%) – Strategy & Interim Design Award

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