Preventative measures for underground cable projects

Project title: Compilation, guidelines and recommendations on potential prevention and mitigation measures for underground cable projects, taking account of current scientific and technical knowledge, the predicted effectiveness and the usefulness at different planning levels.


  • Underground cables: route planning, laying, recultivation and operation
  • Guidelines and recommendations on prevention and mitigation measures
  • Regulations, agreements, standards and regional differences


Bellmannstr. 36, 22607 Hamburg
Apl. Prof. Dr. Karsten Runge
Tel.: +4940 89018924


FKZ 3518 86 0700
Departmentan research plan 2018
Term: 15.11.2018 – 15.05.2020

Laying high-voltage underground cables (for example HVDC – high-voltage direct current transmission) requires a range of prevention and mitigation measures. The research project develops practical guidelines and recommendations on their detailed implementation. The project will compile a detailed set of measures containing the typical construction-, facility- and operation-related damage mitigation measures. Action sheets will be produced as model templates to ensure the closest possible relation to practice. These sheets can serve as guidance or support for consultants and approval authorities, thus strengthening nature conservation interests and increasing the efficiency and legal compliance of the planning procedures.

The aim of the project is a complete listing of all possible prevention and mitigation measures for (detailed) route planning, laying and recultivation as well as operation of underground cables. The measures are aimed at the technical, structural and land use planning side as well as at the cable-laying works themselves (such as e.g. soil protection, nature conservation controls on the timing of construction and measures to restore special biotopes). Practical guidelines and recommendations will be developed on the specific implementation requirements. The framework conditions on the practicability and effectiveness of prevention and mitigation measures also need to be clarified.

The project will prepare and support the process of establishing the necessary measures in, for example, planning permission decisions. The project will also examine the requirements and options for monitoring success and review the mitigation measures for underground cable projects. A further optimisation factor is the need to establish appropriate guidelines and measures for the effective prevention or reduction of negative effects as early as the previous planning level (federal expert planning and regional planning procedures).


The relevant prevention and minimisation measures will initially be compiled by means of a review of the measures used in practice, based on the sub-statutory regulations, guidelines, expert agreements, specialist literature, practical examples and possibly a supplementary expert questionnaire. Regional differences also need to be pointed out i.e. taken into account.

In order to create a broad knowledge base, the various requirements and framework conditions for implementing the measures will be discussed with representatives from nature conservation authorities and associations, town planners, sectoral ministries and grid operators as part of a working group supporting the project. In addition to a comprehensive presentation of the statutory and technical requirements, action sheets will be produced as models for dealing with projects in practice.


Work packages

Work packages

  1. The first work package covers statutory requirements for damage limitation measures. These are presented based on the minimising principle in accordance with Section 13 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG), the statutory site protection requirements under Section 34 BNatSchG, the statutory species protection requirements of Section 44 BNatSchG, the requirements of the statutory biotope conservation and the provisions of the German Environmental Damage Act (USchadG). As part of the legal preparations for the project, a description will be produced of the requirements for the effective monitoring of the impact of prevention and reduction measures.
  2. Work package two covers a systematic presentation of the prevention and mitigation measures available for underground cables. Except for the effects of thermal emissions and electrical and magnetic fields, almost all the disturbances that need to be considered for underground cables are caused in the construction phase, so that particular attention is focused on the cable laying process. A specification and detailed description of the design and implementation requirements for the individual measures are then provided with an attempted estimate of the reliability and effectiveness of each of the prevention and mitigation measures.
  3. Using these results, models for action sheets will be developed that guarantee consistent quality in planning measures for underground cable projects. This will support the technically ambitious practice of establishing prevention and mitigation measures in underground cable projects.

Project partners

Project partners

Project management

Bellmannstr. 36, 22607 Hamburg
Apl. Prof. Dr. Karsten Runge
Tel.: +49 40 89018924

Project partners

RiOVG, Sonninstr. 23, 21339 Lüneburg
Prof. Dr. iur. Dr. h.c. Thomas Schomerus,
Tel.: +49 4131 407327

Funding authority

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
FG II 4.2 Impact regulation, traffic route planning
Dr. Corinna Rickert


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