Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE Transmission) will this week put plans for a proposed electrical switching station on display at open events to be held in Staxigoe and Wick.

A team from SHE Transmission has been developing proposals for the switching station over the past year, which is needed to connect a proposed submarine power cable from Shetland to the Caithness-Moray cable which is currently in construction.

Initial consultation on several site options that had been investigated to the north of Wick took place in September last year. In March, SHE Transmission’s team held further events to seek initial views on design options for a preferred site that had been selected on lower-lying agricultural land, set back from the coast between Noss Head and Wick John O’Groats Airport.

At this week’s events, proposed designs for the development will go on show – including a 3D animated model – so that local residents can comment before plans are submitted to the Highland Council. The events are open for anyone interested to drop in at:
• Wick Assembly Rooms on Wednesday 17 August, 2:30pm to7:30pm; and
• Staxigoe Hall on Thursday 18 August, 2:30pm to 7:30pm.

Speaking ahead of the first event, SHE Transmission’s Lead Project Manager David Inglis said:

“The input we have received from local communities has played an important role at each stage of the design process so far. I would encourage anyone with an interest in our plans to come along to see the work that has been done and discuss it with our team.

“The site which we have selected is set back from the coast, on lower lying land which is less prominent in the wider landscape. As discussed at our most recent consultation events, we are proposing to dig the building into the ground to reduce its apparent height to 17 metres above ground level. The proposed design uses a curved roof; and we would use excavated material to create mounds suitable for planting around the building to integrate the development into the landscape.

“Another key issue that has been raised with us is the management of construction-related traffic. To reduce this potential impact on Wick, Staxigoe and Papigoe, we are proposing to create an alternative access to the site during construction, passing to the north of the airport.

“We are keen to receive comments on these points - as well as the wider design and environmental work that has been done. Once we have considered any further feedback, we intend to submit a formal planning application later this autumn for consideration by the Highland Council.’’

The information from this week’s consultations and the animated ‘fly through’ of the proposal will also be made available on SHE Transmission’s website at www.ssepd.co.uk/CaithnessHVDC after the events have taken place. Members of the public can submit comments at the events, via the website, by email or by post until Friday 9 September.

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