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Removing pylons will improve landscape

25th May 2012

The views across the Cairngorms National Park will be greatly improved thanks to plans to replace metal electricity pylons between Etteridge and Boat of Garten with underground cabling and wooden pole lines.

Meeting in Boat of Garten (Friday 25 May 2012), the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) Planning Committee welcomed Scottish Hydro Electric’s Rationalisation Scheme for the Beauly-Denny Power Line and suggested a number of modifications to further improve the proposals.

Scottish Ministers approved the development of the new Beauly-Denny power line in January 2010, overturning CNPA’s objection to the power line being built through the National Park. CNPA did, however, manage to secure agreement that redundant pylons would be removed and – where possible – the line would be underground.

Commenting on the detail of the proposed works, Deputy Planning Chairman Peter Argyle said: “Anyone who drives over the Lecht will be aware of the difference removing the pylons has made to the landscape. Taking out highly visible, steel pylons through a further 40 kilometres of some of the most visited countryside in the Park will greatly increase peoples’ enjoyment of the area.

“We welcome Scottish Hydro Electric’s plans to carry electricity along smaller, wooden pole lines and underground cables in the most sensitive areas, resulting in significant long-term landscape improvements.”

As a result of the case made at the public inquiry into the Beauly-Denny power line, the CNPA was successful in securing agreement that redundant pylons would be removed completely between Boat of Garten and Calmor in Aberdeenshire and replaced with wood poles or an underground cable between Etteridge and Boat of Garten.

Senior Planning Officer Mary Grier added: “As part of our assessment of the proposals, we’re asking for more of the line to be put underground and a wider range of measures to further enhance the landscape.”

As well as this, CNPA suggests some further modifications to the proposals including:

signage to ensure people are given information to allow them to continue to enjoy the National Park during construction and not disrupt planned events
consideration of the impact on juniper and wood ants
clarification on new temporary tracks and reinstatement afterwards
Scottish Ministers will in due course approve the detail of how these works are to be carried out and have consulted CNPA and others on the proposals.

The planning report can be read in full here.