Beauly-Blackhillock-New Deer-Peterhead 400kV Overhead Line project - Proposed new substation at Blackhillock to move sites as SSEN Transmission publishes Reports on Consultations

SSEN Transmission_The project is part of a wider upgrade of the electricity transmission network across Great Britain.jpg

  • Announcement part of wider series of updates from SSEN Transmission, including 400 new jobs across the north of Scotland over the next 12 months

  • Recruitment drive comes as SSEN Transmission unveils major changes from its first phase of consultation in response to community feedback

  • Following recent UK Government Community Benefit announcement, communities across the north of Scotland in line for over £100m of community benefit funding and money off bills for those located closest to new infrastructure.  This includes over £36m of community benefit funding for the Beauly-Blackhillock-New Deer-Peterhead project

  • SSEN Transmission also sets out ambitious plans to contribute to the development of 200 properties across the north of Scotland, which following completion of the projects, will support local housing requirements Biodiversity net gain, of at least 10%, to be delivered across all new projects

SSEN Transmission has today published Reports on Consultations for the proposed new 400kV overhead line between Beauly, Blackhillock, New Deer and Peterhead, which includes four new substations along its route, and new HVDC Converter Stations at both Beauly and Peterhead.  This project is part of a wider upgrade of the electricity transmission network across Great Britain that is required to deliver UK and Scottish Government energy security and climate change targets.

The Reports on Consultations provides a summary of the extensive feedback received, how this has been considered and confirmation of which routes and proposed substation sites are now being taken forward to the next stage of development.

Following the first round of consultation on potential substation locations and second overhead line route consultation which collectively took place earlier this year, SSEN Transmission is taking forward several changes to its initial proposals.  These include:

  • At Blackhillock in Moray, the proposed new substation site is moving from that consulted on earlier this year to the east of Keith, to one of the other shortlisted sites to the south east of the existing Blackhillock substation, which now falls just over the local authority boundary in Aberdeenshire Council.  This follows extensive local feedback and concerns around the impact of the initial site on Keith, including future development opportunities in the area which includes a potential new health centre.
  • Key sections of previously consulted on routes have been widened in places to reduce community impacts and present the opportunity to follow existing overhead electricity transmission infrastructure, where possible.  This includes the proposed overhead line route as it passes the villages of Maud and Stuartfield.
  • All other route options and the proposed locations for Beauly, New Deer and Peterhead substations are being progressed in line with those options presented as ‘preferred’ when consulted on earlier this year.

In further recognition of community feedback, SSEN Transmission will seek to rationalise cumulative infrastructure impacts through the removal and undergrounding of existing transmission lines, where technically practical and appropriate, and subject to all necessary planning consents and landowner agreements.

Work to identify and assess potential sections of existing overhead line where their removal will reduce cumulative impacts is ongoing, with an update expected as part of the next round of public consultation on overhead line alignments and more detailed substation designs in early 2024.

Commenting on the publication of the Report on Consultation, Catherine Swan, Senior Development Project Manager, said:

“We would once again like to thank all those stakeholders who took the time to constructively respond to our consultation, with this feedback instrumental in informing the changes to our proposals we are announcing today.

“The overhead line routes we are now taking forward to route alignment and our proposed substation locations seek to balance environmental and technical constraints alongside minimising community impacts.

“Following extensive, constructive engagement with the local community, we are pleased to confirm that we are moving the proposed new substation at Blackhillock near Keith, which will significantly reduce impacts on Keith and the wider community.  In response to feedback, we have also widened our proposed routes in key sections to help minimise local impacts and present the opportunity to follow existing infrastructure routes where possible.

“We now look forward to further engagement with local communities and wider stakeholders in advance of our next round of public consultation in early 2024 and remain committed to work constructively with all stakeholders to help further inform the development of this critical national infrastructure.”

Community Benefit

Alongside last week’s Autumn Statement the UK Government published its draft Community Benefit guidance for electricity transmission infrastructure, which has proposed £200,000 per km of new overhead line and £200,000 per substation. 

Subject to the Government’s final decision and confirmation of funding arrangements by the energy regulator Ofgem, the Beauly-Blackhillock-New Deer-Peterhead project is in line to deliver over £36m in Community Benefit Funding.  Proposals for direct payments to those most impacted by new electricity transmission infrastructure have also been set out by the UK Government, with more details expected in 2024.

Accommodation strategy

To ensure that the development of these critical infrastructure projects’ positively impact local people and places, SSEN Transmission is also announcing the first part of its accommodation strategy.

This includes a commitment to contribute to the development of at least 200 properties across the north of Scotland, which upon completion of the transmission infrastructure projects, will be handed to local organisations to provide accommodation for local people across the north of Scotland, delivering a lasting legacy for future generations.   

This is expected to include new and renovated homes, as well as fully serviced sites for temporary accommodation camps for workers, delivered to the standard required to support future housing and wider economic development activities.

To help inform its accommodation strategy SSEN Transmission has commenced engagement with Local Authorities and wider stakeholders to help identify local property needs in the location of projects, including to help address the rural housing crisis.


To see the reports on consultation for our Beauly to Blackhillock to New Deer to Peterhead 400kV OHL project, see our dedicated project page.