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Controversial power line could take 12 years to complete

The controversial power transmission line from Inverness-shire to Stirling could take another twelve years to complete, an influential Commons committee warned last night.

MPs received evidence from National Grid director of regulation Paul Whittaker that it could take a similar timescale to that required for a 60-mile power line across North Yorkshire, in England.

Scottish and Southern Energy are seeking the £320million, 137-mile, 400,000-volt overhead line from Beauly to Denny to carry power from proposed wind farms in the northern and western Highlands.

The inquiry into the route – which would have 600 pylons each 212ft high – was concluded in December.

The committee was told it is hoped recommendations will be submitted to Scottish ministers for consideration this year.

The committee expressed “frustration” that a number of badly-needed renewable projects are being delayed pending the outcome of this, and of plans to upgrade the transmission system across the border into England, and urged National Grid to explore “as a priority” other ways of temporarily getting round the log-jam by sharing access to the grid with existing power stations.

The committee said renewable power projects should be guaranteed access.

Press & Journal

19 June 2008