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Massive electricity substation planned for East Perthshire  

Credit:  By Mark Mackay | The Courier | 8 December 2012 | www.thecourier.co.uk ~~

A huge swathe of East Perthshire countryside could be covered by a massive electricity substation to support windfarm creation.

More than 17 acres of farmland – roughly the equivalent of seven football pitches – would become home to the development for the next 40 years.

There may be a battle on the horizon, however, as the location selected” is part of a family farm.

Its owners have been engaged in lengthy negotiations with Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd and could even face compulsory purchase if they do not succeed.

The substation is a vital element of the Keith to Kincardine East Coast Reinforcement Project, which will upgrade hundreds of miles of power lines.

Improvements to the electricity network are required to support the number of new renewable energy projects seeking to become connected, driven on by the Scottish Government’s commitment to green energy.

The substation would take shape over an 18-month period on land North-West of Haughend Farm, by Meigle, and would result in a major building and roads infrastructure project.

The proposals will go before a special meeting of Perth and Kinross Council on Wednesday and will then be presented to full council, although council planners are already recommending its approval.

Despite the scale of the development, the sole letter of objection submitted to Perth and Kinross Council has come from Hugh Stewart, owner of Haughend Farm.

The correspondence, submitted by his solicitors, raises concerns about the long-term impact of the substation upon their visual amenity and quality of life.

Perhaps more importantly, the development would remove a significant piece of land from the ownership of the family.

Mr Stewart believes this has the potential to have a significant detrimental impact upon the economic viability of the farm.

His solicitors said negotiations with SSE were ongoing but there was no end in sight.

SSE said the site was chosen to minimise the impact of the reinforcement project, as it sits by the T junction of three individual power lines, ensuring that no new pylons would be required.

Statutory consultations have taken place with bodies including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds without objections.

There has also been community consultation.

A spokesman for SSE said: “The transmission network owned and managed by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Limited was originally designed to serve rural communities with relatively low demands for electricity.

“This increase in requests for renewable generation connections to the electricity network is placing a new and significant requirement on the transmission system that exceeds the existing capacity on the east coast.”

Source:  By Mark Mackay | The Courier | 8 December 2012 | www.thecourier.co.uk

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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