Changes Announced in Project Update
SSEN Transmission has today published Reports on Consultations for the proposed 400kV overhead line between Kintore and Tealing, which includes two new substations along its route. The project is part of a wider upgrade of the electricity transmission network across Great Britain.
The Reports on Consultations provides a summary of the extensive feedback received, how this has been considered and confirmation of which overhead line routes and proposed substation sites are now being taken forward to the next stage of development. Following the first round of consultation which took place over the summer, SSEN Transmission is taking forward several changes to its initial proposals.
The proposed site of a new substation in Aberdeenshire has been changed from Fiddes to Fetteresso Forest, which has in turn seen alterations to the overhead line routes to be consulted on in early 2024. As the overhead line passes Forfar, an alternative route, B1.1 above, is now being taken forward which takes the line further away from the town, between Forfar and Kirriemuir, following community feedback and SEPA concerns about the impact of flooding at the River South Esk.
SSEN have said that the design of the project will aim to minimise the prominence and visual impact of the overhead line as far as possible, through siting towers on lower areas of land, using hills as back drops to reduce skylining where possible, and avoiding felling woodland and trees, which provide some screening.
They further state that the impact of the project on agriculture will be avoided wherever possible through sensitive location of towers and tracks, however it is acknowledged that some sections of the proposed overhead line will unavoidably need to cross sections of prime agricultural land. Liaison with farmers to understand their businesses and how they use their land will continue.
The proposed location for a Tealing substation is being progressed in line with those options that were presented as ‘preferred’ when consulted on earlier this year. SSEN have explained that this is based on its proximity to existing transmission infrastructure, the fewer residential properties compared to the alternative site, and avoidance of prime agricultural land.
They have also said they will seek to rationalise cumulative infrastructure impacts through the removal and undergrounding of existing transmission lines, where technically practical and appropriate, and subject to all necessary planning consents and landowner agreements. Work to identify and assess potential sections of existing overhead line where their removal will reduce cumulative impacts is ongoing, with an update expected as part of the next round of public consultation on overhead line alignments and more detailed substation designs in early 2024.
The UK Government has also published draft Community Benefit guidance for electricity transmission infrastructure, which has proposed £200,000 per km of new overhead line and £200,000 per substation. Subject to a final decision and confirmation of funding arrangements by the energy regulator Ofgem, the Kintore-Tealing project is in line to entail over £21m in Community Benefit Funding. Proposals for direct payments to those most impacted by new electricity transmission infrastructure have also been set out by the UK Government, with more details expected in 2024.
This is a key update from SSEN Transmission and I would encourage interested constituents to take a look at the consultation report.GRAEME
I have had ongoing engagement with SSEN regularly since these proposals were first developed, throughout which I have always sought to voice the concerns of constituents and highlight the vital importance of extensive community consultation.
The new preferred route through my constituency is obvious a wide corridor that will narrow to specifics in the next round of consultation.
I would urge people to use that opportunity to make your views known.
We would once again like to thank all those stakeholders who took the time to constructively respond to our consultation, with this feedback instrumental in informing the changes to our proposals we are announcing today.CALUM GRANT, SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER
The overhead line routes we are now taking forward to route alignment and our proposed substation locations seek to balance environmental and technical constraints alongside minimising community impacts.
Recognising the strength of feeling amongst some individuals and communities, we have worked extremely hard to identify an alternative substation site to Fiddes, as well as several changes to our previously consulted on preferred overhead line routes, to help reduce community, environmental and cultural heritage impacts.
We now look forward to further engagement with local communities and wider stakeholders in advance of our next round of public consultation in early 2024 and remain committed to work constructively with all stakeholders to help further inform the development of this critical national infrastructure.
SSEN Transmission’s Pathway to 2030 programme is a major investment in the future of our electricity networks in the north of Scotland, and this latest announcement demonstrates it is paying dividends in terms of creating long-term, high quality green jobs as well as benefits for the wider economy.FIRST MINISTER HUMZA YOUSAF
Projects like this embody and support the ambitions of our draft Energy Strategy, and will be vital to delivering a fair and just transition for our energy workers. It is clear that SSEN Transmission is committed to investing in the skills and talent in the north of Scotland as we move towards that crucial just transition to net zero, which is necessary not just for our energy needs, but for the sake of the planet.