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UK’s Beauly-Denny power line: rationalisation schemes approved

Scottish ministers have approved the schemes to limit the visual impact of existing wirescape around Beauly-Denny upgrade.

When the new Beauly-Denny power line was approved in January 2010 extensive conditions, including the removal of the existing Beauly-Denny power line, were imposed to protect the interests of communities and minimise the impact on the environment along the line.

These conditions have now been identified and approved by ministers. As a result Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL) is required to remove over 100 km of existing ancillary overhead transmission lines and steel pylons in areas of the Highlands, the Cairngorms National Park and Perthhire, in addition to removing the existing 220 km Beauly-Denny overhead power line.

The five rationalisation schemes submitted by SHETL are as follows:

  1. Removing three sections of 132 kV overhead transmission line and steel pylons, totalling 6 km, around Beauly and replacing them with underground cables;
  2. Removing altogether 53 km of 132 kV overhead transmission line and steel pylons between Boat of Garten and Cairnmore in the Cairngorms National Park;
  3. Removing 40 km of 132 kV overhead transmission line and steel pylons between Etteridge and Boat of Garten in the Cairngorms National Park and replacing it with 33 kV overhead lines supported by wooden poles, or underground cables;
  4. Removing sections of 132 kV overhead transmission line and steel pylons around Whitebridge and around Amulree, totalling 10 km, and replacing them with underground cables; and
  5. Removing sections of overhead line in an around the village of Muthill, totalling 8 km, and replacing them with underground cables.

The approval of these schemes will result in capital investment of around £50 million.

Energy Minister Jim Mather says: “The Beauly-Denny upgrade will help to reinforce Scotland’s electricity network, a vital link in our efforts to build a low carbon economy and tackle climate change. It will help our vast renewables potential to be harnessed, transmitted and exported.

“The rationalisation schemes approved today will help us realise the benefits of renewables whilst acting to safeguard the landscape.”

The Beauly-Denny Upgrade

On September 28, 2005, Scottish Power Transmission Limited (SPT) and Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission Limited (SHETL) applied to install a 400 kV connection between Beauly substation, near Inverness, and Denny North substation, near Falkirk.

Objections from five relevant planning authorities triggered a Public Local Inquiry, which took place between 6 February 2007 and 20 December 2007 in five sessions to consider both strategic issues and those specific to each relevant planning authority.

The application was approved by Scottish Ministers in January 2010.

The overhead line will be 220 km long and will replace the existing single circuit 132 kV overhead transmission line with a 400 kV double circuit overhead line providing more reliable capacity.

The upgraded line will comprise approximately 600 towers, a quarter fewer than at present. The average height will be 53 m, compared to the current 815 towers of an average height of 33 m. The spacing between towers on the upgraded line will average 360 m, compared to a current average spacing of 250 m.

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