South Scotland

Kendoon to Tongland pylon campaigners 'won't lie down'

Power lines Image copyright Getty Images

Campaigners have vowed to continue their battle over new power line proposals for a corner of Galloway as a consultation draws to a close.

The public has until Friday to give its views on Scottish Power Energy Networks' Kendoon to Tongland plans

It has said the work is necessary to modernise the ageing network.

However, campaigner Paul Swift said it threatened tourism and has urged the firm to look at putting the cables underground.

He started a petition before Christmas urging SPEN to consider that course of action.

"I think a lot of the community would have liked it to have gone down the existing route but there were concerns that the extra height of the pylons might cause some problems so that was difficult," he said.

"So they proposed three routes and that divided the community a little bit because you have got three different routes and, of course, some people on one route were happy that it was on another route.

"But now we have got down to a preferred route and we just think it is going to affect the tourist industry."

Image copyright SPEN

They have written to the Scottish government highlighting their preference for cables to go underground.

"We need to protect the local environment because it is so important to our local tourist economy," said Mr Swift.

"Dumfries and Galloway is one of the most deprived areas of Scotland and any increase in jobs is going to come from the tourist industry.

"So anything that threatens the tourist industry as far as we're concerned is a very bad idea."

He said he hoped the company would look at all options to minimise the landscape impact.

Image copyright SPEN
Image caption SPEN has said the work is necessary to modernise the ageing network

"I think the best outcome would probably be to go down Loch Ken, because the existing line goes alongside Loch Ken," he said.

"SPEN have said that is cost prohibitive because they have to bring a barge in and the barge will have to come in again if there is a fault.

"If that isn't possible we need it to go underground and a consultant should be able to tell SPEN which is the best route."

Mr Swift said they were prepared to continue their fight.

'Shape plans'

"We have to protect this environment - it is a beautiful part of the country and having these great big huge pylons erected is not going to help the tourist industry," he said.

"We are not going to lie down, we are going to work very hard to try and get our voice heard."

SPEN said it took its responsibilities to communities and the environment "very seriously".

"Our current consultation period is open until Friday and we would like to hear as many views as possible on our proposals, as this will help to shape our plans," a spokesperson said.

The company added that it was developing proposals to meet requirements to consider measures to offset landscape impact including putting lines underground.

It said planning routes was a complex process "balancing statutory obligations, engineering requirements, economic viability, land use and the environment".

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