Power supplies to up to 15,000 customers could be cut off if an electricity tower and its lines have to be removed from farmland, ministers have been told.
ScottishPower Distribution (SPD) has applied to MSPs for a necessary wayleave to be placed on the apparatus, which crosses Cauldcoats in Dalkeith, Midlothian, after the landowner served notice for its removal.
SDP claim the impact of removing the tower and associated lines would mean 10,000 to 15,000 customers could be left without electricity unless they find an alternative.
Appealing to MSPs for the necessary wayleave, which would allow the lines and equipment to remain for up to 40 years, SPD said: “The apparatus is part of an electrical circuit which provides a secure and reliable supply of electricity to 10,000-15,000 customers.
“Its removal without any replacement would leave these customers without an electrical supply.
“Removal would also have an adverse effect on security of supply in the wider network and prolong the time needed to restore supply in the event of a fault.”
SPD said that the lines and apparatus had been on the land under a voluntary wayleave agreed between South of Scotland Electricity Board and then landowner Donald Laird in February 1977.
However, they said a subsequent change in ownership of the land meant the wayleave had ceased to be binding and in January this year they received a notice to remove the apparatus from agents of current landowner Paladin Ventures Limited.
The notice gave no explanation for the request.
SPD said the land in question had planning permission in principle for a residential development and primary school but no documents to date “refer to the removal of the SPD apparatus”.
The Scottish Government has the power to grant a necessary wayleave to give a statutory right to electricity companies to keep their lines and equipment on land and retain access to it.
By Local Democracy Reporter Marie Sharp