Scotland

Scotland snow: Engineers battle to restore power in Arran, Kintyre and Wigtownshire

  • 25 March 2013
  • From the section Scotland

Engineers in Kintyre have said that damage to two electricity pylons in Friday's storm is much worse than originally thought.

The towers collapsed under sheets of ice and snow. As a result, power supplies to thousands of consumers in Kintyre and Arran were cut.

The pylons are on the eastern side of Kintyre near Carradale.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) said they have never experienced two pylons collapsing at one time.

The last time a storm brought down one of their pylons was in 1987.

Fears have been voiced that it could take weeks to restore mains power to some parts of Scotland left without electricity by the March storms.

More than 3,000 homes in Kintyre and on Arran were expected to spend a fourth night without power.

SSE said several hundred customers had been reconnected on Monday evening - either as a result of repairs to the network, or by bringing in generators.

ScottishPower said all homes in Dumfries and Galloway affected by the severe weather had now been reconnected to a main line electricity supply.

Earlier, Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said emergency engineers and road clearing crews across Kintyre, Arran and Dumfries and Galloway had been working "flat out" to help individuals and communities.

Heavy snow and ice brought down power lines in Kintyre on Friday, which blacked out a huge area, including Arran, over the weekend.

On Friday evening, about 20,000 homes had been without power.

SSE has drafted in more 400 engineering staff to Kintyre and Arran and has six helicopters operating in the area.

Speaking after a visit to Arran to see first-hand efforts to reconnect power, Mr Brown said: "Dozens of generators have been brought onto the island and SSE has arranged for food vans to distribute free hot meals to customers who continue to be without power.

"I also spoke to local people on Arran. It is heartening to see the evident community spirit with islanders helping each other cope in the horrendous weather conditions.

"I know that the same joint working partnerships and community spirit are evident in Kintyre, which has faced the brunt of the severe weather impacts."

ScottishPower said it had more than 300 engineers working in the Wigtownshire and Barrhill areas on Monday.

The Scottish government's resilience committee met several times over the weekend, and again on Monday morning.

Transport Minister Mr Brown added: "The Scottish government will continue to do everything we can to support local responders and help co-ordinate the support and help they need until all services are restored."

On Arran, local hotels supplied with generators have been acting as emergency centres.

Some local residents have praised the efforts to provide emergency supplies but fear a permanent solution may take some time.

Councillor John Bruce said: "This is the fourth day and it was like watching, I suppose, an army exercise as those big generators from Aggreko came off the ferries.

"They're powering up the villages now but we'll be without mains power I would say for weeks to come, rather than just days.

"However, we're bearing it. We're resilient."

All schools on Arran were closed on Monday, as were all Argyll and Bute primaries south of Tarbert and more than a dozen schools in Dumfries and Galloway.

A number of roads in the Highlands, Tayside, Grampian and Dumfries and Galloway remain closed.

Neil Young, a fireman at Lamlash on Arran, said about 100 people a day had been taking advantage of his fire station's offer of hot refreshments and shower facilities.

Road clearing teams have been working to tackle huge drifts of snow on Arran

The coastguard used boats from Troon and Arran to deliver supplies and offer assistance where needed.

British Red Cross arranged for a consignment of blankets and hot water bottles to be ferried across to Arran and distributed to residents.

In Campbeltown, Red Cross volunteers also helped evacuate residents from a nursing home and transferred them to temporary accommodation at the former Machrihanish RAF base nearby.

The Met Office has issued a fresh yellow warning covering eastern Scotland, northeast England and eastern parts of Northern Ireland.

Forecasters said snow showers and icy patches would continue to make driving hazardous on Monday night, especially over high ground.

The strong wind will be an added problem as it continues to blow the lying snow.

The warning is valid from 20:00 on Monday until 09:00 on Tuesday.

To access more information from your mobile, visit the BBC Weather and BBC Travel News sites.

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