Local Scottish Conservative politicians are united in their opposition to Scottish Power’s proposal for the ‘Strategic Reinforcement Project’ that would see nearly 200 kilometres of pylons erected across Dumfries and Galloway.
The proposal would see new, larger pylons built in areas that are unaffected by pylons at the present time. David Mundell MP, Alex Fergusson MSP, Ian Duncan MEP, and Councillors Nicol, Hyslop, Carson, Dykes, McGregor, Gilroy, Blake and Male are unanimous in their view that Scottish Power’s preferred corridor is unacceptable.
Speaking after making their opposition to the proposals known, Dumfriesshire MP, David Mundell, said: “Scottish Power’s proposal means building new pylon that are 50% bigger than anything currently in Dumfries and Galloway. I believe that these pylons will have a massive detrimental impact on the surrounding countryside. Scottish Power’s current proposals don’t take into account that much of the countryside along the preferred route is completely unspoilt. Any proposals should reflect the conditions in the local area, and local residents should be fully consulted on any final proposals.
I know that several community councils are already responding to the consultation, and I would encourage any local residents who feel strongly on this issue to have their say.”
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I have been inundated with concerns raised by constituents over these proposals, and I have great sympathy with them. I am not convinced that there is as much flexibility within the preferred ‘corridor’ as SPEN suggests, and I don’t believe alternatives such as undergrounding or putting a cable along the Solway have been properly considered.”
Conservative Council Group Spokesman Finlay Carson added: “SPEN tells us that they cannot simply replace the existing power lines with new ones due to the amount of land that is now designated for a variety of reasons. Yet their proposed route lies in the heart of what could be the Galloway National Park – a proposal that out Council supports, and that I fully endorse. Alternatives exist, and they must be fully pursued rather than simply going for the cheapest option.”
Finally Ian Duncan MEP said: “If we are talking about future proofing energy supplies for the foreseeable future, we need to be future-proofing our environment as well. I cannot see how SPEN’s proposal ticks that particular box, and I fully endorse the concerns raised by Conservative colleagues in the Region.”
Local Scottish Conservatives will be making a submission in response to the consultation on SPEN’s proposals.