Kathie Griffiths
Power giant SSE must put pylon plans for Dalmally on hold, say campaigners,
now that Scottish ministers have turned down a new windfarm just 10 miles
away on grounds it would spoil the view.
No More Pylons in Dalmally say the ministers’ decision that the 18 wind
turbines would have significantly impacted North Argyll’s natural beauty
and panoramic quality must now alter Scottish and Southern Energy’s
position on wanting to put a new power line through Dalmally to
Stronmilchan sub-station.
Campaign co-leader Julian Penney said: ‘Now that the windfarm has been
knocked on the head, surely SSE needs to reassess exactly what its position
is. Putting in an additional line with more pylons isn’t needed now. The
turbines won’t be there.
‘SSE will probably come back and say there might be other power generating
schemes out there but at the minute they’re just in the pipeline. SSE’s
plans for another line have got to be put on hold.’
No More Pylons in Dalmally’s priority is protecting the community’s health
although saving the area’s landscape is another of its concerns.
It wants to stop controversial plans by SSE’s network to put up 52 pylons
as part of a North Argyll reinforcement project. Campaigners, backed by MSP
Michael Russell, have said if the energy network wants new power lines out
of Argyll, then they should go underground.
Argyll and Bute councillor Elaine Robertson said given the Scottish
Government’s decision to refuse the windfarm at Upper Sonachan,
substantially based on the visual aspect, she expected SSE ‘has taken
cognisance of this result’. She added: ‘The proposed overground pylons are
enormous and would be a totally unacceptable visual intrusion on this very
beautiful scenic area.’
Anti-pylon campaigners are worried more electricity pulsing through any new
pylons and existing Scottish Power-owned ones above their village school,
shop and homes would add to electromagnetic radiation and damage people’s
SSE has been exploring underground and overhead options and aims to consult
the community over route options again later this summer or early autumn.
Final proposals are due to go to the government in 2020.
Argyll and Bute Council objected to plans for the windfarm at Upper
Sonachan Forest back in November 2016 and it went to a public local inquiry
one year later. Scottish ministers got the report from the inquiry on
September 28 last year recommending planning permission should be rejected
and they refused consent on May 24.
Although ministers agreed the windfarm would have provided some substantial
benefits including meeting renewable energy targets, reducing greenhouse
gases and possibly becoming community owned, the significant landscape and
visual impacts would be unacceptable ‘based on the distinct landscape
features and scenic quality of the area’, they decided.
The Upper Sonachan windfarm was not the sole driver for SSE’s North Argyll
reinforcement project.
A spokesperson for SSE said: ‘The North Argyll reinforcement is required to
facilitate the connection of renewable electricity generators from across
the Argyll and Kintyre region. If the reinforcement proceeds, which
ultimately remains subject to the progression of renewable generators, it
will also strengthen the transmission system, improving network resilience
for electricity users.
‘As a responsible developer and following feedback received, we continue to
explore undergrounding options from the vicinity of the Duncan Ban
MacIntyre monument to Dalmally switching station. All proposed overhead
transmission infrastructure for the North Argyll reinforcement project will
be a minimum distance of 100m from villages and properties in the area. We
remain committed to keep the community and other interested parties fully
updated as the project development continues and plan to hold further
consultations later this year.’



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