Conservationists fight to stop pylons “degrading” Culloden

Participants in a recreation of the Battle of Culloden. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Participants in a recreation of the Battle of Culloden. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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ONE OF Scotland’s leading conservation charities has expressed deep concern over “unacceptable” proposals to construct 50-metre high electricity pylons close to internationally acclaimed landmarks such as Culloden battlefield, the Clava Cairns, Castle Fraser and Leith Hall.

The proposals are part of SSE PD’s second-stage consultation Beuly-Blackhilllock-Kintore Reinforcement project.

The Culloden Battlefield.  Photo: Robert Perry Scotland on Sunday.

The Culloden Battlefield. Photo: Robert Perry Scotland on Sunday.

In his letter to Lesley Dow, project liaison officer for SSEPD, Mr Skinner wrote: “It is unacceptable that in case of Culloden, if this project goes ahead there will be no less than three large overhead lines passing through this glen within a mile or so of each other. This is not something we can support.”

Mr Skinner advocated underground cabling, writing: “Without these protections, the enjoyment of our nationally and internationally valued landscapes will be damaged, with all the consequences that follow. Superficial assessments of costs, without recognising the public value at stake, will lead to the wrong decisions.”

The battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746 was the last battle fought on mainland Britain. The site has conservation area status and there is also a proposal for it to be long-listed as a potential World Heritage Site.
A spokesman for Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission, a subsidiary of SSEPD, said: “In order for the lights to stay on SHE Transmission needs to upgrade the electricity network in the north of Scotland. We do everything we can to make sure this is done in a cost effective way, while being sympathetic to the natural environment.

“We have held over 20 productive consultation meetings as part of the Beauly, Blackhillock, Kintore project and we take the opinions of the public and statutory bodies seriously.

If thisproject goes ahead there will be no less than three large overhead lines passing through this glen

Simon Skinner

“We assess the best possible engineering option, and undergrounding is not a panacea as it can be extremely damaging to the environment as it could require up to a 2m deep trench the width of dual carriageway to be carved through the landscape.”