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Ministers reject Beauly Denny powerline calls  

Credit:  BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk 7 December 2011 ~~

Calls to build a stretch of the controversial new Beauly to Denny power line underground have been rejected by the Scottish government.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing instead passed plans to reduce the visual impact of the line of 50 metre-high pylons in the Stirling area.

He said part of the line would now be buried, between Fallin and Glenbervie.

Ministers approved the 600-pylon network, to connect renewable power to the national grid, in January 2010.

Opponents of the Beauly to Denny line in and around Stirling say it will have a catastrophic impact on one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes.

The 137-mile upgraded line, being constructed by Scottish Power Transmission (SPT) and running from the Highlands to central Scotland, will pass close to Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.

But Mr Ewing told the Scottish Parliament that putting the line underground was not feasible, while saying additional mitigation measures would be introduced.

The minister said he was convinced by SPT proposals to help mitigate the impact of the line through landscaping measures and a new “green network”.

He also announced that an extra seven kilometre stretch of the existing overhead line, between Fallin to Glenbervie, would be buried.

Mr Ewing said: “The Beauly-Denny upgrade remains the most significant grid infrastructure project in a generation.

“It is crucial to allow the vast onshore and offshore renewables potential in the north of Scotland to be harnessed, transmitted and exported.”

The minister said he was “acutely conscious” of the feelings of the communities in the Stirling area, but told MSPs: “Undergrounding on such a large scale would cost an estimated £263m and require large sealing end compounds at the points where the line is undergrounded, which would have a significant landscape impact in their own right.

“According to the report of the public inquiry and external consultants, the impacts of the consented line at Stirling are moderate so I have concluded that due to the costs, technical problems and limited environmental benefits, the case for undergrounding has not been justified.”

Stirling Council previously rejected the visual impact plans as “inadequate and ineffective”.

Source:  BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk 7 December 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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