THE FIRM BEHIND plans to create a series of electricity pylons over the 14 miles from the Dorenell Wind Farm on the Glenfiddich estate to Blackhillock near Keith has denied they are ignoring public views.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission presented their plans for public consultation and say that they used the resulting feedback to present the most balanced proposal for their plans to link the two sites with a series of 78-foot tall pylons.
The company insist that a decision to used wooden poles resulted from the consultation and would minimise the impact of the power line on the landscape.
However, community leaders have insisted that their views had never been properly taken into account – and the plans being laid by the company are the cheapest option that was always their intention.
“What is the point of holding public exhibitions and putting all the boards up in the Memorial Hall just to come up with the cheapest solution,” Dufftown resident and local Community Councillor Alistair Jeffs said.
He added: “There was no point in making us all submit comments if it was always going to revert back to the original proposal – it’s a done deal. The only course of action we have is to object when the final application is put in because nothing we have said has been taken into account.”
Mr Jeffs, a local B&B owner, had with several others made the suggestion to SHE Transmission that cabling be laid underground – that, however, would be a far more expensive proposition.
However, a spokesman for SHE Transmission insisted that feedback had been taken into account with the issue being discussed from as far back as November 2014, saying their plans had been developed from negotiations with stakeholders.
“SHE Transmission has worked to understand the views of the community while taking account of its licence obligations to develop an efficient and coordinated system,” the company spokesman said, adding: “Following review of the technical, environmental and economic factors – and taking account of feedback from members of the public – the project team are confident a balanced proposal has been reached.”
The Dorenell project itself sparked anger when Moray Council approved the plans for the £250million project in August last year – despite it attracting 1261 objections.
The plans had originally been approved by the Scottish Government in 2011, these were later amended to a larger proposal that would see a four surrounding communities – Dufftown, Cabrach, Glenlivet and Glen Rinnes – benefit from an annual £1million investment for the lifetime of the development.