Weather Station Decommissioning and Removal

Location:Sule Skerry

Sector:Meteorological

The decommissioning and removal of a weather station from Sule Skerry.

LARS Communications has recently completed the decommissioning and removal of a weather station from the remote island of Sule Skerry.

SULE SKERRY

Sule Skerry is a remote skerry in the north Atlantic, thirty-fives miles to the west of Orkney’s mainland (a skerry is a small, rocky island generally considered too small for human habitation).

The island is approximately forty acres in area and about half a mile in length. It is listed as a special protection area as it is home to thousands of puffins, gannets, shags, petrels and seals.

OBJECTIVE

To dismantle and remove the decommissioned weather station from the island, transporting it to a skip on the mainland. The weather station comprises a tower and a cabin, as well as a range of temporary equipment items.

SCOPE OF WORKS

  • Arrange skip delivery and liaise with landowners
  • Clear landing zone of anything deemed to be FOD (foreign object damage)
  • Confirm refuelling zone for PDG Aviation helicopters
  • Fly LARS personnel, equipment, tools and survival gear to the island
  • On landing, assess the tower, cabin and equipment and assemble tools
  • Remove temporary equipment from the tower
  • Reduce height of tower to leave cabin encapsulated within the tower legs
  • Place equipment and removed section of tower into a helinet
  • Cut free the base of the cabin from the rock
  • Helicopter to fly cabin and lower section of tower to mainland and drop in skip
  • Helicopter to return and transport remaining items to the mainland and drop in skip
  • All holding down bolts to be cut flush and the area cleared of debris and left tidy
  • Helicopter to return to transport LARS personnel to the mainland
  • No material will be left on site on completion of works
  • Landowners to confirm they are happy with the condition in which the site is left

OUTCOME

This operation required sensitivity, extensive logistical planning and collaboration with a number of third parties, including local residents and businesses.

In collaboration with PDG Aviation, LARS successfully completed the dismantling and removal of the weather station. The companies had to work within a very small window of opportunity due to the breeding seasons for the seabirds. Consulting with the relevant wildlife associations and charities, LARS was able to remove the structure with minimum disruption to the island’s wildlife.