South Scotland

Plea to bury new power lines in Dumfries and Galloway

Pylon Image copyright Thinkstock

The firm behind plans to upgrade overhead power lines in Dumfries and Galloway has been urged to consider burying some sections underground.

Local politicians have also called on Scottish Power Energy Networks to reconsider the route of the project.

The firm wants to build a new high voltage line between Auchencrosh in South Ayrshire and Harker in Cumbria.

It has pledged to scrutinise "every word of feedback" received during a 12-week consultation.

SP Energy Networks said it received more than 1,500 forms, letters and emails during the process, which ended on Monday.

It sought views on a broad corridor of land identified for potential routes of a new overhead line.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell said he opposed the Dumfries and Galloway Strategic Reinforcement Project.

"Scottish Power's proposal means building new pylons that are 50% bigger than anything currently in Dumfries and Galloway," he added.

"I believe these pylons will have a massive detrimental impact on the surrounding countryside."

'Underground cabling'

SP Energy Networks held 10 public exhibitions outlining details of the project, at venues along the proposed route. They said they met more than 700 people.

Dumfriesshire Labour MSP Elaine Murray said: "This is not a 'done deal' and objectors should not lose heart - there is still a long way to go before the planning application is determined.

"Personally, I am not convinced that the current pylons need to be replaced by such large structures, and have suggested that SP Energy Networks pursue under sea and underground cabling.

"I know they are resistant to these suggestions as they are more expensive and maintenance is more difficult, but the views of local residents must come before cost."

Richard Arkless, the SNP MP for Dumfries and Galloway, said the upgrade was necessary but he was "not convinced" environmental concerns have been "adequately addressed".

He added: "I believe that we need to do everything we can to find a better solution. My constituents are clearly not happy about the route and I very much share their concerns."

Colin Brown, SP Energy Network's project manager for the scheme, said the response to the consultation had been "very encouraging".

"To make sure we develop the scheme with local concerns and ideas firmly in mind, every work of feedback we have received now needs to be scrutinised and we will respond as part of the consultation feedback report later this year."

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