SSEN Transmission has today published the outcome of its recent consultation on the Skye Reinforcement Project. The project is required to replace the existing electricity transmission powerline that runs from Fort Augustus to Ardmore in the north of Skye, which is coming to the end of its operational life. The replacement line will operate at a higher capacity to enable the connection of new renewable energy generation in the area to the transmission network, supporting the transition to the UK and Scotland’s net zero emissions climate change targets.
The report on consultation follows a series of online consultation events held in June this year to seek feedback on the plans to replace the transmission line. The events provided visitors with an opportunity to view exhibition boards, maps and interactive videos, as well as share views and ask questions on the proposals by directly engaging with the project team.
Over 4500 people visited the consultation platform during the four week consultation period, with just over 100 people sharing their feedback on SSEN Transmission’s plans via the portal, feedback forms, emails and calls. Sharing their views on the approach to route selection, the analysis of route options and the identification of a preferred route.
Based on the feedback received from statutory stakeholders and the local community, SSEN Transmission can confirm it is carrying out additional technical assessments to seek to address concerns stakeholders had raised about the impact of the proposed route within Section 3 of the line which runs from Broadford to the Kylerhea crossing.
In addition to technical assessments being carried out along the route, the engineering team will also be focusing on two route options: 3A which follows the existing line and option 3B which runs follows a new route through Glen Arroch. The detailed assessments will seek to find a favourable route taking into consideration the community feedback, environmental and construction challenges and the on-going maintenance of the line once operational. The team will also carry out assessments to look at the feasibility of using underground or subsea cables for sections of the route, in areas of particular sensitivity.
Project Manager, Euan Smith, said: “As a responsible developer we have engaged constructively with the statutory consultees, communities along the route and any other stakeholders interested in the project to gain their feedback at this early stage in the development process to help inform the design phase.
“From the feedback we have received we know that finding an acceptable route through Section 3 will be challenging, which is why it is it important that this detailed assessment be carried out before any final decisions be made on the proposed design. We hope to continue this collaborative approach with our stakeholders to identify an acceptable alignment and design solution through this sensitive landscape and environment.
“We would like to thank everyone who participated in our consultation and the feedback we have received to date has been vital in shaping this next stage of the development process. We look forward to continuing to engage constructively in the coming months as part of the ongoing development of the project.”
Over the next six months the engineering team will work closely with the appointed contractor ensure that construction methods are fully understood in tandem with route and alignment assessments to help inform the design and the consideration of any alternative solutions. SSEN Transmission plan to consult on a preferred alignment in summer 2021.
To find out more about the project or to contact the project team, please visit the project website here