Highlands & Islands

Rare wildlife survey ahead of Beauly sub station work

Great crested newt
Image caption Scottish ministers have asked that the site is surveyed for great crested newt

A sub-station revamp required for the upgrading of the Beauly to Denny power line has been granted planning permission by Scottish ministers.

An existing station at Balblair Quarry, near Beauly, in the Highlands, is to be extended.

But Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd must meet several conditions before any work starts.

These include a fresh survey of the site for protected great crested newt, red squirrel and bats.

Some trees, particularly a stand of Scots pines, have also been given protection. Scottish ministers have said there would need to be "clear justification" for felling the pines.

Shetl, a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), had appealed to Scottish ministers because Highland Council had not taken a decision on the planning application.

Under the plans, a new electrical converter would also be built at the sub-station site.

The upgrade of the power line between the Highlands and central Scotland was given the go-ahead by Scottish ministers in January 2010.

The power line plan attracted more than 18,000 objections. Campaigners opposed the construction of new electricity pylons and called for the new line to be buried underground.

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