SSEN Transmission welcomes the publication of Ofgem’s consultation on its funding application to underground further historical transmission infrastructure from within the Cairngorms National Park. In the consultation, which is open until 28th March 2019, Ofgem seeks formal views from stakeholders on its minded to position to approve the funding request.
Ofgem is responsible for administering a £500m fund for GB electricity transmission owners to mitigate the impact of historic electricity infrastructure in National Parks and National Scenic Areas. In response to Ofgem’s funding opportunity, SSEN Transmission is progressing a number of engineering and landscaping proposals across its network region as part of its VISTA (Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets) project.
SSEN Transmission’s two Cairngorms National Park schemes would see 12km of overhead line and 46 existing transmission towers near the villages of Boat of Garten and Nethy Bridge replaced with underground cabling.
The investment required to carry out both schemes totals £31.9m and in its consultation, Ofgem considers both schemes to be economical, efficient and justified; providing additional benefits for archaeology, heritage, and tourism within the Cairngorms National Park. The regulator now seeks further views on its position from interested parties, ahead of making a final decision on whether to approve funding for the plans.
If formally approved following Ofgem’s consultation process, both schemes would reduce the visual impact of SSEN’s transmission infrastructure in an area where it can be seen by the largest number of visitors to the National Park, building on the removal of over 300 towers, covering a distance of over 90km, as part of the Beauly Denny project.
Commenting on the publication of Ofgem’s’ consultation, Euan Smith, who is leading SSEN’s Project VISTA, said:
“We are delighted with Ofgem’s feedback on our VISTA proposals for the Cairngorms National Park and look forward to the regulators’ final decision once the formal consultation period closes.
“Should funding be approved for both schemes, this innovative project will result in the removal of an additional 46 historic transmission towers within the National Park’s boundary covering a combined distance of 12km.
“We would like to thank all stakeholders who have provided valuable feedback throughout the development process of the Cairngorm VISTA schemes and look forward to continued engagement with Ofgem and other interested parties as we seek to further improve the visual impact of our existing infrastructure in Scotland’s most valuable landscapes.”
The development of SSEN’s VISTA proposals has been informed through extensive stakeholder engagement, from local communities and statutory stakeholders, to the representative bodies of Scotland’s National Parks, including the Cairngorms National Park Authority. Should the Cairngorm funding proposals be approved by Ofgem following the consultation process, both projects are expected to be delivered by SSEN Transmission by 2020.
For further information on SSEN Transmission’s Cairngorms undergrounding scheme, along with our wider VISTA proposals for Loch Tummel, Loch Rannoch and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, please visit: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/sustainability-and-environment/vista/
Further information on Ofgem’s consultation can be found here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/consultation-our-assessment-she-transmissions-proposal-reducing-visual-amenity-impacts-cairngorms-national-park.