Three, two, one and its down. SSEN Transmission topples the final tower on its Cairngorms VISTA project (Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets), bringing to a close 18 months of work to help to restore the natural beauty of the area surrounding Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten in the Scottish Highlands.

The Cairngorms National Park is one of Scotland’s busiest national parks, receiving nearly 2 million visitors a year, making this visual improvement to the natural landscape something that will be enjoyed by millions of visitors for years to come.

The toppling of the 46th and final tower also marks the completion of the first of six VISTA projects being progressed by SSEN Transmission. VISTA represents an opportunity to reassess the historic electricity infrastructure within, National Parks and National Scenic Areas (NSAs), to help conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of these important Scottish landscapes.

The £31.9M project has been funded as part of a £500M scheme administered by the energy regulator, Ofgem. The scheme allows the three GB electricity transmission owners to apply for funding to mitigate the impact of historic electricity infrastructure in National Parks and National Scenic Areas. 

Ahead of the final tower fell SSEN Transmission and their principal contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure have been working in the Cairngorms National Park laying new underground cable from Docharn Woods to Nethy Bridge. Replacing a total of 12km of overhead line and 46 steel towers, originally built in the 1950’s.

Project Manager, Johannes Smit said: “We work hard to find the right balance between providing a safe and secure supply of electricity, delivered in a cost-effective way, while doing all we can to minimise the impact on the landscape.

“We worked closely with local stakeholders to identify the most suitable locations to remove transmission infrastructure, progressing 6 locations in our network area, of which the Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten project in the Cairngorms Nation Park is one.

“The project would not have been possible without the backing of the local community and I would like to thank them for their support at each stage of the project from the initial proposals, right through to construction.

“Everyone involved in the project has worked really hard over the last 18 months, overcoming some difficult weather conditions and tricky engineering challenges. It is great to see the final tower safely come down today, it is quite a sight to see. It also marks a job well done for all the team.”

Now the last tower is down the VISTA team can turn their focus to the next project. They will be heading towards Loch Lomond in January to start work on the next VISTA project which will see the removal of 25 steel towers and 7.5km of overhead line from Derrydaroch to Crianlarich,in Glen Falloch, and between Sloy Dam and Sloy Power Station, which will be replaced with underground cable.

To find out more about SSEN Transmission’s VISTA project visit: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/sustainability-and-environment/vista/

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