Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE Transmission) has submitted an amended planning application to Scottish Ministers to reflect a number of changes to the proposed Skye Tee network reinforcement project. The alterations to the route are in direct response to feedback received from the local community.
The ‘Skye Tee Project’ is necessary to accommodate the growth of renewable energy on Skye and in the Western Isles and will also provide enhanced security of supply and greater network resilience to the west of Fort Augustus. The works, located between Fort Augustus and Invergarry, will see the construction of a new 132kV connection combining a new wooden pole overhead line and underground cable.
The Skye Tee Project - which is split into two stages, Phase 1 and Phase 2 - was first granted consent by Scottish Ministers in November 2014, but following a number of concerns raised by the local community SHE Transmission’s project team has investigated an alternative route for the second phase. Phase 1 of the project is now under construction following the recent appointment of principle contractor, NorPower, who are based in the Highlands.
The new proposed route has several key benefits, including:
• minimising the impact of construction activity on the local community and businesses in Auchterawe;
• removing the risk of disturbing existing screening to the west of the existing substation at Fort Augustus; and
• avoiding disturbance to Forestry Commission Scotland research plots and removing the need to replace two bridge structures over the Allt na Cille.
SHE Transmission’s Project Manager, Johannes Smit, explains the background to the proposed change to the route:
“As a responsible developer, we are committed to engaging with local communities and potentially affected parties throughout the development of our projects and where possible, we will do all we can to factor in feedback received and adapt our plans accordingly.
“We have worked constructively with the Fort Augustus and Auchterawe communities throughout the development of this project and I am delighted we have been able to take on board a number of the comments received locally, which have now been reflected in our amended planning application.”
The amended planning application is now with Scottish Government Minister for consideration with a decision expected later this year, with the project due for completion summer 2017.