Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks has announced that should it return to the proposed Beauly-Blackhillock-Kintore transmission line in the future, it will review all the options for reinforcement.
Earlier this year (31/01), National Grid changed its recommendation for the project from ‘delay’ to ‘do not proceed’. This move was widely welcomed by local campaigners and North East MSP Mike Rumbles who were calling for the proposed plans to be altered in order to protect Aberdeenshire’s iconic Bennachie landscape.
SSEN has said that it hopes this commitment will provide a degree of closure for those communities who have opposed the reinforcement as currently proposed.
Mr Rumbles said: “This is very welcome news indeed. SSE have done the right thing to put the minds of many local residence at ease by committing to this review.
“No-one doubts the need to expand our electricity network in Scotland but it has to be done with the local environment and surrounding communities in mind. In this case, undergrounding the cables or taking the route North of the A96 would have been far better than tearing through unspoilt countryside.
“I was delighted that the National Grid decided to put a moratorium on the project in January now this is the icing on the cake. I would also like to thank everyone involved in the campaign for working for this result.”
Notes for editors:
- Full SSEN press release follows:
- SSEN commit to review options for Beauly-Blackhillock-Kintore reinforcement if project returns in future years (14 March 2017: For immediate release. Media Team: 0345 0760 530 Greg Clarke)
Following the publication of National Grid’s Networks Options Assessment report, which included a change to the recommendation for the proposed Beauly-Blackhillock-Kintore reinforcement from last year’s ‘delay’ to ‘do not proceed’, Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) has now concluded a period of engagement with stakeholders to agree how it takes forward the recommendations.
All work associated with the project is now drawing to a close and SSEN has taken the decision that should it return to the project in the future, it will review the options for reinforcement. It is hoped this commitment will provide a degree of closure for those communities who have opposed the reinforcement as currently proposed.
Commenting, David Gardner, Director of Transmission, said:
“As the NOA is an annual process a recommendation to stop in one year could change in future years and as part of our recent discussions with stakeholders, we have focussed on how we capture the significant development work that has been done to date, and the valuable stakeholder feedback received so far on this project.
“Whilst we remain confident in the robust approach we have taken in planning the reinforcement and the conclusions we have reached so far, we recognise the degree of opposition in the local community, particularly regarding the proposed route corridor. In recognition of this, as a responsible developer we have taken the decision to commit to review the options, initially in consultation with statutory stakeholders, if we return to the project in future years.
“We have always stated that the views of the local community are an important consideration in the development of our projects and remain committed to work openly and constructively with all parties who may be affected by our developments.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders for the valuable contributions they have made to date, which will be helpful to inform any future planning should we return to the project at a later date”.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
• Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks operates and maintains the electricity network that serves 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England, northern Scotland, the Highlands and islands.
• Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is the new trading name of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc and Southern Electric Power Distribution plc