Call on the Scottish Government and Scottish Power Energy Networks to underground the proposed reinforced power line through the heart of Galloway.
Scottish Power Energy Network, who are owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, plan to replace 47.8km of overhead transmission line with taller pylons across the heart of Galloway.
The Kendoon to Tongland 132kV Reinforcement Project (KTR) will have significant adverse effects on this precious landscape; affecting users of recreational paths, roads and viewpoints and see the felling of nearly 350 hectares of trees, including 45 hectares of designated Native or Ancient Semi Natural Woodland; a major and significant impact. The project will also require seven new quarries to be mined.
Despite this, the company’s report on the project claims there will be no significant effects on:
- Watercourses - there are over 220 watercourse crossings in the project, several of them major rivers, and all draining into the Loch Ken / River Dee catchment area.
- Peat – although the presence of peat is noted for several of the sections little on-site investigation has been carried out.
- Ecology - loss of habitat, especially broadleaved woodland, dismissed in the report as not significant.
- Ornithology - despite an 80m wide swathe being cut through countryside where a whole host of rare species have been recorded as occupying and breeding
- Cultural Heritage; 72 cultural heritage assets are directly affected by the project.
- Traffic and transport - despite an estimated 252,514 extra HGV, LGV and car/van movements resulting from the proposals, using many single-track roads.
The project will also have significant and adverse long-term impacts on tourism and recreation – a key rural industry - especially for users of the Core Path network, outdoor tourist destinations, visitor accommodation and recreational activities in the countryside.
Most worrying of all, the impact on climate change has not been specifically assessed in any detail.
Scottish Greens are calling on the Scottish Government and SPEN to underground the entire route. This is more expensive but it is exactly the kind of long-term infrastructure project that is worthy of investment through the Green New Deal. 17% of the national grid in England and Wales is undergrounded and, with increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change, having the power cables underground is not only less impactful on the environment it is also more secure and stable.
We need to make it clear to ministers that we want to see rural infrastructure investment that benefits the environment, not harms it.