Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

New supergroup formed to stop energy giant ‘blighting Highland landscape’

A public meeting will also to be held in Strathpeffer in May to discuss SSEN proposals

New substations are planned along the proposed route
New substations are planned along the proposed route

A forum of Highland community councils is being created to unite a campaign over a controversial planned new power line.

SSEN proposals to route a new 400KV overhead line from Spittal in Caithness to Beauly and on to Peterhead have drawn strong criticism.

Some 24 community councils between Spittal and Beauly have been invited to join the new forum, with 19 already signed up.

Public meeting to discuss power line plan

A public meeting will be held at Strathpeffer Pavilion on May 19 where representatives from SSEN and MP Ian Blackford will attend.

A new series of consultations on potential route options for the overhead line between Beauly and Peterhead have also been announced.

The meeting has been called by Strathpeffer Community Council which is setting up the Highland forum.

Council chairman Ron McAulay said: “The meeting will give the community the opportunity to put questions to SSEN and hear their latest thinking after a consultation.

“Hopefully it will be well attended and be a useful and positive discussion.”

Mr McAulay said the forum will give SSEN the opportunity to consult directly with one body covering such a wide area.

He said it will look specifically at the initial remit given to SSEN which he believes is “flawed” in relation to possible routes for pylons and the use of subsea and underground cables.

It will also examine the consultation which he said was a “token gesture” and not meaningful.

SSEN is consulting on the planned power line

Mr McAulay added: “I get the very strong impression that people are upset, concerned and, in some cases, outraged at what’s being suggested.

“These huge pylons cutting through communities could take a rural landscape and make it an industrial landscape. In some places, it is quite shocking.”

Ian Blackford said the need to upgrade the power network is accepted, but it must be with community consent and support.

“I am surprised by the heavy-handed nature of the approach that SSEN has taken and have stressed to them the importance of proper engagement with the community.

“The meeting on May 18 allows for SSEN to reset their relationship and to take on board the legitimate concerns of the community on the proposed route.”

SSEN’s plans are part of a proposed £7 billion upgrade to its network to connect renewables projects and support the drive towards net zero.

As well as the transmission line from Beauly to Peterhead, new substations are planned along the route.

‘Committed to working with the community’

The power company extended the consultation period until April 14 in response to local feedback.

A SSEN Transmission spokeswoman said:  “We remain fully committed to working closely with the local community and wider stakeholders to help inform the design of this nationally significant project.

“We look forward to working with a Highland forum of community councils to help further engage on this project.”

She thanked people for feedback which will be considered as the company refines its proposals.

“While the project consultation period closes on April 14, our engagement will be ongoing.

“We will be working closely with the local community and stakeholders, seeking their input throughout the development of the project.”

The posters were unveiled at a public meeting called to fight the power lines plan

The plans prompted the formation of a new campaign group, Communities B4 Power Companies, by residents near Beauly.

A public meeting organised by the group last week was attended by more than 150 residents.

A hard-hitting billboard depicting pylons scarring a woman’s face was unveiled at the meeting.

It carries the words “What kind of thug scars Highland beauty? Just say No to SSEN and Scottish Government plans”.

Another group Strathpeffer and Contin Better Cable Group is campaigning against the plans.

And the owner of Carbisdale Castle in Sutherland is considering legal action to stop the plan she says threaten her £10 million renovation of the landmark.

It is claimed the planned line threatens historical, environmental and cultural sites in many parts of the Highlands.

Nine new consultation events planned

SSEN’s new consultations will seek feedback on its initial preferred routes for the Peterhead-Beauly line.

It will also discuss the site selection for new infrastructure in Peterhead, known as the Peterhead Net Zero 2030 development. 

The meetings will take place in Peterhead (April 17), New Deer (April 18), Turriff (April 19), Keith (April 20), Huntly (April 21), Elgin (April 24), Forres (April 25), Inverness (April 26) and Beauly (April 27).

A virtual event will also be organised.

SSEN Transmission lead project manager Catherine Swan said: “We look forward to building on the constructive engagement we have enjoyed with communities and wider stakeholders in the area and encourage anyone with an interest in the project to come along to one of our in-person events later this month, or join us at our virtual event, to share their views.”

Are you interested in more exclusive and breaking Highland and Islands news from the P&J? If so, why not join our dedicated Facebook page HERE