Mike Rumbles MSP is to lead a debate in Scottish Parliament tomorrow on the future of National Grid pylon developments in or around iconic Scottish landscapes.
The North East MSP has called on the Scottish Government to use regulations where appropriate to limit the use of overhead pylons in areas on natural beauty, such as around Aberdeenshire’s iconic Bennachie.
Moments after the Scottish Parliament confirmed that Members Business debate would go ahead, Scottish & Southern Electricity Network’s confirmed in an email to Mr Rumbles that they have been told by the National Grid ‘not to proceed’ with the Blackhillock to Kintore project.
Mr Rumbles said: “I am delighted that the campaign has been successful in highlighting the environmental damage this could do to our area of Aberdeenshire, and that we now have moratorium on the proposed development.
“However, SSE have signalled that this does not necessarily mean the end of the project. There will be a continuing need to expand the capacity of the network in the North of Scotland and the National Grid could revisit these plans again in not too distant future.
“That is why the Scottish Government must take this opportunity to look at how large scale projects, like the Blackhillock to Kintore transmission line, are delivered and how they impact on our iconic landscapes and the surrounding communities.
“Scottish Government policy already ensures that "consideration" is given to undergrounding pylons where feasible. I believe a simple amendment to a "presumption" that pylons will be under grounded where appropriate, agreed unanimously by the Welsh Assembly, would help protect our areas of natural beauty for future generations from possible large scale development in the years to come. I will be pressing the Minister to take this on board.”
Notes for editors:
Motion Number: S5M-03637
Lodged By: Mike Rumbles
Date Lodged: 25/01/2017
Title: ♦ Blackhillock to Kintore Transmission Line
Motion Text: That the Parliament notes the concern that has been expressed by communities in proximity to Scottish and Southern Electricity Network’s proposed Blackhillock to Kintore transmission reinforcement regarding the development’s potential visual impact; understands that the National Assembly for Wales unanimously passed a motion on 18 January 2017 endorsing the use of underground cables and alternatives to pylons where feasible, with a view to minimising the visual impact of such infrastructure; reiterates what it sees as the need for effective community consultation and the importance of incorporating feedback as a means for addressing such concerns; believes that the outstanding natural beauty of this countryside, for example the area around Bennachie, must be protected, and notes the communities’ urgent calls for the existing plans to be the subject of substantial change and mitigation action in order for this to be achieved.