Kintyre pylon replacement – last chance to comment

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Three and a half years after plans were announced to upgrade the pylon network – following a series of meetings across Argyll – a power company is offering people a last chance to comment before seeking planning permission.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is inviting the public to a series of open-door events before it submits a consent application to replace the overhead lines and towers that have delivered electricity to Kintyre for 60 years.

The existing steel towers that run from Inveraray to Crossaig near Skipness are coming to the end of their operational life and SSEN has been working with residents, landowners, statutory authorities and consultants to develop proposals to replace the transmission line.

The reason for the upgrade is, according to SSEN, to provide a more secure electricity supply while allowing for the connection of renewable energy in the area.

SSEN will host events in Inveraray, Ardrishaig, Tarbert, Skipness and Carradale to provide interested parties with the opportunity to review and comment on the preferred alignment of the new pylons and related infrastructure. The company proposes submitting a consent application to the Scottish Government early in 2018.

SSEN Project Manager Derek Hearns explained: ‘Over the last 16 months we have been taking into account a balance of factors including feedback from consultations, feedback from directly affected landowners and environmental and engineering assessments.

‘For example, our continuing ornithological surveys have identified several species of protected birds such as eagles and divers and this has influenced our alignment choices, particularly where there is a potential for impact on their habitat.

‘The events are a drop-in format and I would encourage anyone who can make it along to come in, view our proposals and speak to the project team and take the opportunity to ask us any questions.’

As part of proposals published last year, the new overhead lines would operate at 275kV as opposed to the current 132kV. The towers, or pylons, would therefore be taller – 46 metres against the existing 26 metre pylons. This would allow a longer span between towers, meaning that there would be fewer, but taller structures carrying a higher voltage.

The events will each be open 2-7pm, and will be held as follows:

Tuesday September 26, Loch Fyne Hotel, Inveraray
Wednesday September 27, Ardrishaig Public Hall
Thursday September 28, Tarbert Village Hall
Tuesday October 3, Skipness Village Hall
Wednesday October 4, Carradale Village Hall