We have all been witnesses or advisers at the public inquiry into the proposed new 200ft electricity pylons running from Beauly near Inverness to the outskirts of Glasgow. This has involved months of intensive work on our part analysing the relevant information, including much that has become available only recently.
We have been led to draw the following conclusions.
# The existing grid, with modifications, provides sufficient capacity for realistic forecasts of renewable generation in the Highlands over the next 15 years and certainly far more than is required to meet the Scottish Executive targets. There is, thus, no technical case for the line.
# The cost far outweighs any financial benefits to the consumer: there is no economic case for the line.
# If increased grid capacity is ever needed, a less costly and less damaging east coast route exists.
Constructing the line would, therefore, be an entirely unnecessary act of vandalism. The structure of the inquiry, in which important evidence that could not have been available by the start of the inquiry last January was excluded by the reporters, is not such as to expose all the facts.
Professor Andrew Bain (former board member, Scottish Enterprise), Sir Donald Miller (former chairman of Scottish-Power) and Colin Gibson (former director, National Grid Group),1 Stafford Street, Helensburgh.
25 May 2007