Councillors object to pylon scheme ruining the landscape

Dumfries and Galloway councillors will raise an objection to Scottish Power Energy Networks’ (SPEN) planned overhead pylon line through the Glenkelns landscape.

By Brian Yule
Friday, 16th April 2021, 3:47 pm
Dumfries and Galloway Council are not keen on the SPEN proposal
Dumfries and Galloway Council are not keen on the SPEN proposal

The proposals are for the replacement of the existing 132kV transmission overhead lines (OHLs) between Polquhanity in the north, through the existing Glenlee substation, and south to the Tongland substation.

The OHLs to be replaced, including the supporting steel towers, connecting five hydro-electric power stations that serve Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire.

Scottish Ministers are responsible for authorising new electricity transmission networks of 132kV, and have consulted the council as part of this process. As the local planning authority a decision to object triggers a public local inquiry.

A report by from the Economy and Development department went before the Planning Applications Committee on Wednesday. Despite recommending the local authority did not object to the proposal, the councillors saw it differently.

Members were upset that all five sections of the scheme will go through land designated as ‘regional scenic areas’ and want to see cabling put underground instead of an undetermined number of pylons blotting the landscape.

Several councillors did query just how many pylons would be required for the scheme and what the overall cost would be, however officers revealed they asked SPEN about this and the information was not forthcoming.

During the meeting it was stated the council told SPEN four or five years ago they wished to see the cabling put underground and councillors were unhappy this was seemingly ignored.

The objection reads: “This council raises objections on the grounds it has not been proven that the proposals would not have an unduly adverse effect on the landscape character due to this proposal running through two regional scenic areas and that undergrounding would be the preferred option to protect these sensitive areas, landscape, views and visual amenity.”

The council’s objection is the latest of more than 800 objections to the scheme that the Scottish Government received.

The campaign group Galloway Without Pylons also insists the cabling be put underground.

Spokesman Stuart Littlewood said: “A huge number of objections submitted during the consultation insist on the most sensitive stretches of the line being underground, it is crucial.”