Talks hope to provoke a rethink on overhead power lines

Dorenell wind farm project - SSE Chief Executive asked to reconsider overhead option.
Dorenell wind farm project – SSE Chief Executive asked to reconsider overhead option.

TALKS AIMED AT a greater understanding over plans by a major power firm to create overhead power lines through Speyside have taken place this week.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead called the meeting in response to the concerns from local communities over the plans for overhead electricity pylons that will link the Dorenell Wind Farm to the Blackhillock sub-station near Keith.

Community leaders and local councillors have joined in demanding SSE reconsider their plans – and look again at options for running the power line between the two sites. SSE had previously dismissed the option of doing so underground, a decision that has angered many in the communities affected.

Follow his meeting with community and SSE representatives this week, Mr Lochhead said: “Around twenty constituents directly affected in one way or another by the proposed power lines attended my meeting in Drummuir with SSE to voice their concerns over the impact of the development.

“Given that SSE acknowledged in a letter to me that there are indeed individual cases where there is a significant visual impact on a number of local residents, every effort should be made even at this late stage to investigate any further changes that can be made to minimise the impact of the new lines.

“We are after all talking about a beautiful part of Moray and Speyside with landmarks popular with tourists, such as Auchindoon Castle, that will potentially be affected.

“Although the changes already made by SSE to the original route and infrastructure are welcome, further work is needed to identify what more can be done, including further consideration of under-grounding where appropriate. Everyone at the meeting accepted that SSE had not provided a sufficient explanation as to why this option has been completely ruled out.

“Due to hosting the Blackhillock sub-station, Moray already has a considerable amount of electricity transmission infrastructure some of which is thankfully already underground and to avoid a potentially harmful cumulative effect, everything that can be done should be done to minimise any further impact on our landscapes and local environment.

“We should always leave no stone unturned so we don’t end up with a web of criss-crossing pylons across Speyside and Moray when other options were available.

“I’m pleased that following our meeting SSE have agreed to have further discussions with my constituents and I will also be raising their cases with the Scottish Government’s Consents Unit who are currently considering the planning application given that Ministers will have the final say.”

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