This paper describes the two-phase study of the environmental impact of the SwePol Link submarine electrical energy transfer system between Sweden and Poland. During the first phase (1997–1998), the potential effects of proposed technical solutions for the transmission line and different routes across the Baltic Sea were analysed. During the second phase (1999–2000), studies on environmental and background conditions before cable installation (1999) and studies on the environmental effects after cable system installation (2000) were undertaken. During this phase, underwater TV and video inspection of the bottom, observations of the bottom habitats by scuba-divers, sampling and laboratory analysis of macrozoobenthos and measurements of the earth's magnetic field were conducted.
Underwater observations along the cable route indicated that one year after the cable had been laid no mechanical disturbances on the dynamic sandy bottom were visible. Studies of the bottom macrofauna indicated that there had been no significant changes in zoobenthos species composition, abundance or biomass which could have been clearly related to cable installation. Changes in the components of the magnetic field, although significant in the vicinity of the cable itself, did not exceed natural variability at a distance of 20 m.