Echt & Skene residents concerned about SSEN’s plans are invited to attend a meeting with Andrew Bowie MP at 7.30pm on Thursday 18th January 2024 at Dunecht Hall
Feedback from SSEN online meeting with Community Councils affected by Kintore to Tealing 400 kV OHL 5th December 2023
SSEN has now published on its website the Report on Consultations for this project with a summary of the feedback received and the steps they’ve taken to address the issues raised. The route for Section F Kintore to River Dee has been revised and now passes west of Dunecht rather than running close to Kirkton of Skene, Westhill and Peterculter.
Why has SSEN switched the route option for Section F of the Kintore-Tealing 400kV OHL fom F1 to F2?
- The now-preferred westerly route F2 impacts fewer people i.e. the bigger centres of population at Westhill and Peterculter are less impacted and by moving to route F2 it allows for easier future expansion of these settlements. There were similar numbers of consultation responses from residents along both the F1 and F2 routes.
- Concerns were raised by RSPB and NatureScot about the impact on the Loch of Skene, which is a site of national and international importance for geese. Geese have a tendency to fly into OHLs so the preference is to move the line further away from the Loch, which they fly out from and back to each day during the winter months.
- National Trust for Scotland objected to the impact of route F1 on the views eastwards from Drum Castle and estate. Route F2 has less impact being to the west of Drum and out of sight of the castle.
- The southern part of route F2 was moved east of Drumoak to form a new Route F1.3 in order to reduce the adverse impact on Park House and the Loch of Park SSSI.
Why are they not considering subsea or underground options?
- SSEN is delivering the 400kV OHLs onshore because that’s what National Grid in its role as Electricity System Operator (ESO) has told them to do. A subsea link is planned to follow later on (it’s currently 1-2 years behind the OHL in project development terms) but there are technical difficulties to overcome first and SSEN may not be the company tasked with delivering it. To switch away from reinforcement onshore to subsea would require the ESO to revisit its decisions – it’s not in SSEN’s decision-making powers.
- Undergrounding would be very difficult – they would have to lay 30-36 cables, each of which would be 30cm diameter, with sufficient separation between the cables. Hence they would need to dig a 40m wide trench for the whole length of the route. The cables come in 1000m lengths so they would have cable joins every 1km. They would also need additional infrastructure at the sub-stations and some extra intermediate sub-stations to manage the additional voltage instability of undergrounding cables.
What about the schools and houses which are within the new route corridor?
- The next stage of consultation in Spring 2024 will be about the exact placing of the pylons within the 1km wide route corridor.
- SSEN will try to ensure 250m minimum separation from schools.
What about compensation for homes and businesses affected by the OHL?
- Compensation is determined according to provisions within the Electricity Act.
- The UK government’s Autumn Statement stated an intention to give energy bill discounts of up to £1000 per annum for up to 10 years to households affected by new OHLs. If and when the Electricity Act is amended to include this additional compensation proposal, then households in Aberdeenshire would be eligible.
What is the project timeline going forward?
- In Spring 2024 SSEN will put forward for public consultation their proposals for siting the pylons within the route corridor for the line.
- They expect to lodge the planning application to the Energy Consents Unit (Scottish Government) by the end of 2024 with a decision made by end 2025.
- Construction period would be 2026-2030.