Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Western Isles

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

Lisa Marchi
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Telephone: 01463 728072
Mobile: 07825 015507
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN

Land Manager

Jamie Cowie
Title: Land Manager
Telephone: 07825154711
Status: Early Development

Project background

The 132kV overhead line (OHL) between Harris and Stornoway is routed through both the Isle of Harris and the Isle of Lewis and is part of the Western Isles circuit that runs from Stornoway to Fort Augustus.

This route is a wood pole line that was constructed in 1990 and consisted of a single circuit that runs for circa 58km.

The location of this line is very susceptible to storm damage, with high winds affecting the region and therefore requires ongoing work and monitoring. The poles on the existing circuit have a history of storm damage in both 2006 and 2015.

Project scope

The project proposes construction of an offline 132kV OHL wood pole trident line between the Harris Grid Supply Point and Stornoway Grid Supply Point, thus replacing the existing single pole trident design with an “H” Pole trident wood pole line.


The preference for the new route would be to follow that of the existing OHL. The new wood pole line will be strung with an All Aluminium Alloy Conductor (AAAC).

Our Engagement

Throughout the life of our projects, we aim to work positively with local communities and keep people informed about what we are doing. This is particularly important when we are developing a proposal and we want to understand what local people think about our plans.

We endeavour to take the time to discuss proposals with local community councils, encourage engagement from the wider community and listen to the feedback we receive.

We will do our best to answer any questions and address issues or concerns that are raised with us.

When our project progresses into construction, we will continue working closely with the local community to ensure that our work has as little impact on the lives of those living and working in the area and as many long term positive effects as possible.

Who is Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks?

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is the trading name of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc and Southern Electric Power Distribution plc.

How are Transmission network upgrades paid for?

Investments in projects are made by SHE Transmission plc. Electricity transmission companies are authorised to recover the costs of such investments through 'use of system' charges which are levied by National Grid Electricity Transmission plc on generators and suppliers of electricity. Suppliers recover their costs from all electricity customers. In order to protect the interests of customers, the transmission companies have to demonstrate to the energy regulator, Ofgem (Office for Gas and Electricity Markets) that proposed investments are necessary, are efficient and are economical so that the charges which are ultimately levied on all electricity customers are justified.

This means SHE Transmission is subject to a funding mechanism established by Parliament and regulated by Ofgem. Cross subsidies between different businesses in the SSE group is not permitted.

How are proposals scrutinised?

The Scottish Ministers are responsible for determination of applications submitted under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. Both statutory consultees and members of the public have the right to submit their representations on the application. All representations will be considered by Scottish Ministers in their determination of the application.
The Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), as the regulator, has to approve all investment so project proposals are developed under license conditions.
Preferred route corridors chosen will comply with revised ‘Holford Rules’ which are the recognised industry approach to routeing overhead lines amended to reflect Scottish circumstances.

What are The Holford Rules?

The Holford Rules originated in 1959 as the result of work by Lord Holford, a part-time member of the Central Electricity Generating Board (National Grid's predecessor). The Holford Rules have been augmented by both National Grid and SHE Transmission plc to reflect environmental legislation and best practice in recent years. We have continued to use them as a valuable set of guidelines for reducing the impact of our assets on landscapes.
The guidance recommends appropriate application of the Holford Rules to inform routeing. These rules advocate the application of a hierarchical approach to routeing which first avoids major areas of highest amenity, then smaller areas of high amenity, and finally considers factors such as backdrop, woodland and orientation. The Holford Rules apply the term ‘amenity’ to refer to environmental designations and classifications such as Natura 2000 sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, National Parks.
The guidance also recognises that the key effect of overhead lines is visual and it advises that the routeing of overhead lines should consider the types of mitigation (screening) that could offset any visual effects.
In their National Policy Statement EN-5, the Government has stated that the Holford Rules “should be followed by developers when designing their proposals.” Their use is therefore Government policy, rather than a voluntary choice of SHE Transmission plc.

How and to what extent are electricity consumers' interests considered?

SHE Transmission are regulated by the Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator responsible for representing consumers' interests. Electricity consumer interests are therefore one of our key drivers and this is enshrined in our statutory duties under the Electricity Act.

In particular we have a statutory duty to develop, maintain and operate an efficient, economic and co-ordinated transmission system. Since the costs of these projects will ultimately be paid for by electricity consumers, we have a responsibility to take cost into account with due weighting in a comparison against other important factors.

What is the transmission network?

It’s the highest voltage electricity network in the UK – the ‘motorway network’ of the energy world. It transmits large quantities of electricity over long distances via wires carried on a system of mainly metal towers (pylons) and large substations. Transmission voltages in Scotland are 132kV, 275kV and 400kV. Larger generation schemes usually connect to the Transmission system.

The lower voltage parts of the system are called distribution networks. In Scotland, these local networks operate below 132kV whereas in England the distribution network includes 132kV. 

Ongoing surveys

Overhead line engineers will be out on site along the entire route carrying out surveys until summer 2022

September 2021 Virtual Consultations

Following virtual consultations that we held earlier this year in June where we presented our preferred corridor for a new 132kV “H” wood pole trident overhead line between Harris Grid Supply Point and Stornoway Grid Supply Point which would replace the existing single pole trident design. We are pleased to advise we are now hosting the next round of virtual online public consultations to present our preferred routes to allow stakeholders and other interested parties to engage and share feedback on our proposals. The virtual consultation events have been designed to be as interactive as face to face events, allowing for presentation of key project information and plans, as well as providing an opportunity to ask questions about the project. Visitors will be able to engage directly with the project team, via a live text chat function, where they can ask any questions they might have about the project and share their feedback on the current proposals. To find out more please visit the project overview page.
Project overview

Bird surveys

Over the next 12 months ongoing bird survey work will be carried out along the route from Harris to Stornoway.

September 2021 Online Consultation Booklet

Related Projects: Harris – Stornoway 132kV OHL

File Type: pdf
Published: 03 Sep 2021
September 2021 Online Consultation Banners

Related Projects: Harris – Stornoway 132kV OHL

File Type: pdf
Published: 03 Sep 2021
September 2021 Consultation Information

Related Projects: Harris – Stornoway 132kV OHL

File Type: pdf
Published: 03 Sep 2021
June 2021 Online Consultation Booklet

Related Projects: Harris – Stornoway 132kV OHL

File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Jun 2021
June 2021 Online Consultation Banners

Related Projects: Harris – Stornoway 132kV OHL

File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Jun 2021


Harris - Stornoway September 2021 Virtual Online Consultation Feedback Form

Harris - Stornoway September 2021 Virtual Online Consultation Feedback Form

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