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Pylon inquiry sparks complaints  

The conduct of a public inquiry into the upgrade of a power line has been criticised by anti-pylon groups.

Opponents to Scottish and Southern Energy’s (SSE) 137-mile (220km) plan have complained that no written record of the proceedings has been made.

They also claimed the inquiry’s website was not being updated with rulings or submissions from objectors.

The Scottish Executive said keeping a record would be too expensive and denied any bias on the website.

Representatives from various groups protested outside the inquiry in Inverness.

They included members of Highlands Before Pylons, Pylon Pressure, Communities Against Pylons, Scotland Before Pylons and Cairngorms Revolt Against Pylons.

The organisations are opposed to the building of large pylons from Beauly in the Highlands to Denny, near Falkirk.

Among a long list of grievances about the hearing, the groups also said that the public were being “effectively excluded” from the proceedings.

Editorial control

An executive spokesman said it was normal practice to not keep a transcript of the inquiry because of the “significant cost implication” it would incur.

He said the website was hosted by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) – the company proposing the upgrade – but the inquiry Reporters had full editorial control.

The 11-month inquiry started in February.

SSE said the £320m development was needed for the reliable transmission of electricity from renewable sources from the north of Scotland, which would be enough to power one million homes.

It has already ruled out an argument for putting the line underground on cost grounds.

BBC News

20 June 2007

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