Ants protection plan 'needed' for Beauly-Denny project

Wood ants Ants are seen as playing an important role in forest ecosystems

Related Stories

Officers at a national park have said a project to replace a power line must have a plan to protect rare wood ants.

Steel electricity towers are to be replaced with smaller, less obtrusive, wooden poles between Etteridge and Boat of Garten in Badenoch and Strathspey.

The work is a condition of the major upgrade to the Beauly to Denny line.

Planning officials at the Cairngorms National Park Authority have not objected to the proposal, but do wish to see an effort to protect the ants.

The park's ecology officer believes that rare Scottish, narrow headed and also hairy wood ants are present along the line.

Forest ecosystem

Ants are seen as playing an important part in forest ecosystems.

The invertebrates distribute plant seeds and prey on creatures that harm trees and other plants.

Start Quote

It is recommended that a species protection plan is created”

End Quote Planning report

In a report to the park's planning committee, which will meet on 25 May, officials said it appeared that no consideration had been given to the ants.

They added: "It is recommended that a species protection plan is created for wood ants and that this incorporates suitable mitigation measures."

The paper goes on to recommended that, provided efforts were made to protect wildlife, the park make no objection to Scottish Hydro Power Distribution's proposed work to the line.

Officers said replacing large steel towers with wooden poles would "result in a permanent beneficial impact".

The power line between Beauly in the Highlands and Denny, near Stirling, is being upgraded at an estimated cost of £600m.

The project will see new 42m to 65m tall towers along the 130-mile (209km) upgraded route.

Work to remove a string of existing steel electricity pylons in the Cairngorms National Park started last year.

About 33 miles (53km) of overhead transmission lines are to come down between Boat of Garten and Cairnmore.

A further 68 miles (109km) of overhead pylons in the Highlands and Perth and Kinross is also expected to be removed.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Highlands & Islands

Weather

Inverness

Min. Night 15 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.