Prevention of Animal Incursion into Key utilities infrastructure

You may be a great fan of Richard Adams’ “Watership Down” or Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit”, but you are probably not aware just how much damage a small animal, such as a rabbit, can do not just to themselves, but the wider environment if they gain access to key utilities infrastructure e.g. clean water filter beds. If they drown and are carrying certain parasitical bugs their carcass can potentially pollute our drinking water, interrupt supply with far reaching social and economic consequences.

A perimeter-fenced site such as a water treatment plant, gas turbine station or electricity power plant provide a protected environment. This in turn gives ideal conditions for rapid population growth and exponentially the risk of damage and pollution.  Whilst it is important to respect ecological concerns and protect habitat for protected species, utilities companies also have a duty of care to protect their infrastructure and ensure an uninterrupted service to their customers.


Water treatment plants have to protect fresh water drinking supplies, whether that be preventing people endangering themselves by swimming unsupervised in deep water, or preventing animals entering the water and causing contamination leading to an interruption in supply e.g. Cryptosporidium outbreak in Lancashire, UK. This not only lead to taps running dry in peoples’ homes and businesses but a considerable fine for the water company concerned.

Electricity and Gas

Cables and other integral equipment, especially underground in ducts, are vulnerable to damage by rodent infiltration. They will instinctively gnaw cables and inevitably cause damage that can interrupt critical IT infrastructure such as LANs resulting in a loss of systems. Causing a short or worse, long-term interruption in supply whilst cable faults are located and replaced or repaired.

Damage to monitored systems such as intruder or fire alarm systems could result in malfunction leading to false alarms. This can potentially lead to an interruption in supply. Repeated false alarms could slow reaction times to a genuine alert resulting in malicious damage or material loss to the company.

The solution

Heras can demarcate, deter, delay & deny both human and animal incursions in to key infrastructure sites. For example, Heras has installed 2m high Jupiter Fence with a continuous 300mm above ground and 300mm subterranean mesh, with L return to guard against burrowing. This will prevent ALL known indigenous UK species of wild animal from gaining entry into clean water filter beds, therefore greatly reducing the risk of contamination and loss of supply. However, should an animal become trapped within the area during installation, or accidentally allowed access to the area there are a series on “non-return” gates the animals can use instinctively to escape.

The Heras mesh fencing systems (including Heras Zenith range) provide an ideal, value-engineered solution. With a minimum panel height of 1.8m ranging all the way up to 5.2m (and higher if required with optional toppings), designed with tightly configured mesh at 76.2 x 12.7 mm and a 300 mm dug-in option, the Zenith system provides long-term, fully compliant protection against both human and wildlife including all types of indigenous burrowing animals.