JOHN JEFFAY

CONSTANT humming from part of a new £600 million power line is so loud it
is waking nearby residents at night, it has been claimed.
EXPANSION: Experts are carrying out tests on part of the Beauly-Denny power
line. Picture: Stewart Atwood

Noise experts are carrying out tests near the newly expanded substation for
the controversial Beauly-Denny power line after complaints from locals.

The small rural community around the Wester Balblair sub-station near
Beauly claim they are unable to sit outside and are being woken up at night
while a community leader said he had recorded the noise as being above
acceptable levels.

The residents believe the noise is linked to the expansion of the
sub-station at the start of the 137-mile overhead power line, which is
being upgraded to 400kV to carry renewable energy generated in the north to
consumers in the south. The first section of line between the sub-station
and Fort Augustus went live two weeks ago.

Developer Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Highland Council are
investigating after residents noticed a recurring loud buzz.

Steve Byford, chairman of Kilmorack Community Council, said he had been
woken several times in the early hours at his home in Broallan, about a
mile-and-a-half away from the site.

On one occasion, he registered 43 decibels using a downloaded app.
Department of the Environment guidelines suggest 30 decibels is an
acceptable sound level in a bedroom at night.

“It is distracting and upsetting,” he said. “The trouble is, with the nice
weather when you want to open the windows and let in the breeze at night.
The noise has been so loud you are not able to do that.”

Night-shift worker Tara Ross, of Wester Balblair, described the situation
as horrendous. “It is driving us crazy,” she said. “I went to bed the other
morning and it was a nightmare. I got about half-an-hour’s sleep. You
cannot sit outside in the garden on an evening. You are just zoned into the
noise – you cannot block it out.”

Cherry Ambrose said it was difficult to go back to sleep once she had
noticed the noise. “I tend to switch on the TV so I can’t hear it,” she
said. “I find it easier to go back to sleep with the sound of murmuring
voices.”

Gavin Steel, a liaison manager with SSE, confirmed complaints had been
received from residents.

“We have arranged for a specialist consultant to carry out some noise
monitoring,” he said. “They are in the process of analysing the data and we
expect to receive early results very soon.”

In the meantime, he declined to speculate on the cause of the noise.


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