Plans for pylons over land of Sunset Song ditched

The power line project has been re-reouted to avoid the childhood home of one of Scotland's most famous authors.

Plans for pylons over Aberdeenshire land of Sunset Song ditched by SSEN Getty Images

Proposals to build pylons along the land of one of Scotland’s most well-loved novels have been ditched.

SSEN put the plans under its East Coast 300kV project up for consultation, which included overhead lines between the villages of Kintore in Aberdeenshire and Tealing in Angus.

But changes announced on Friday mean proposals to build a new substation at Fiddes in the Mearns will instead be changed to Fetteresso Forest.

The new plans will “reduce community impact”, SSEN said, amid concerns over the local culture and environment.

The company said locals were worried about the effect the project could have on the childhood home of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, in the parish of Arbuthnott, in the Mearns.

The route SSEN consulted on saw the pylons cross the A90 towards Arbuthnott before hearing north towards Fiddes and crossing the A90 again.

The new alternative route will mean the pylons remain on the west of the A90.

The proposed route before the consultation and the new alternative that avoids crossing the A90.

The author wrote the famous book Sunset Song which is regarded as one of the best pieces of Scottish literature.

The consultation is part of SSEN’s wider plans for the north of Scotland which it said will include the creation of 400 new jobs over the next 12 months.

The project is also part of bigger plans to upgrade the electricity transmission network across the UK to ensure energy security and climate targets are met.

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is a Scottish classic.STV News

It said £21m of community benefit funding will made available for the Kintore-Tealing project while it will also help build 200 new homes across the north of Scotland.

Calum Grant, senior project manager, thanked those who took part in the consultation.

He said: “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.”

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