Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Highland

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

Nicola Ross
Title: Wayleaves Officer
Mobile: 07825 015057
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
Status: Construction Phase

About the project

The Lairg-Loch Buidhe transmission reinforcement comprises of the following elements:

New Lairg Substation (Dalchork) Construct a new outdoor 132kV Air Insulated Switchgear (AIS) substation north of Lairg, adjacent to the existing 132kV single circuit overhead line.

Lairg to Loch Buidhe Overhead Line Construct approximately 17km of 132kV double circuit overhead line (61no towers) between the proposed new Lairg substation and the Loch Buidhe substation ) on a new alignment. 

Loch Buidhe Substation The installation of an access track and small compound to the north of the existing main substation which allows the overhead line to change to a cable and then routed into the existing main substation. 

Lairg GSP Minor works required to upgrade the existing plant.

Cassley GSP (Overscraig] Minor works required to upgrade the existing plant.

Lairg to Shin Overhead Line Dismantle approximately 12km of existing 132kV overhead line between the existing Lairg Grid Supply Point (GSP) and the Shin Substation (Inveran).

Dalchork Substation Construction Phase 1

The substation package of works has been awarded to Balfour Beatty. Construction of the substation will be from July 2020 - May 2022 with phase 1 between July 2020 and June 2021.  The main civil construction works will include the following:

  • 1100m of access track 5.0m to the planned substation platform;
  • 450m of public road widening A836 from the junction of A838;
  •  Contractor Compound and laydown – 600m from the public road;
  • Perimeter stock fencing;
  • Underground of the existing 11kV wood pole along the access road;
  • Construct a 270m by 160m wide platform;
  • Technique cut fill – reduces import of aggregates;
  • Construction of a single-story Control Building;
  • Installation of site services:
    • Drainage
    • Cable routes - power and control
    • Potable water [Scottish Water]
    • Mains Power Supply [SHEPD DNO]
    • Earthing grid
  • Installation of internal roads;
  • Installation of site palisade fencing;
  • Installation of reinforced concrete foundations.


Overhead line works

A contract has been awarded to Wood Group for the overhead line works including a new double-circuit tower line to Loch Buidhe of 61 towers. The construction of the overhead line works will commence in September 2020, and last until May 2022.

Phase 1 of the works will consist of the following elements:

  • Constructing access tracks to Tower locations;
  • Form a contractor compound circa 1500m of A836;
  • Construct a new access track from Loch Laro north towards A839 [Rogart road] with imported stone.

Dalchork Substation Construction Phase 2 & 3

  • Phase 2 Main HV electrical equipment installation March 2021 – Dec 2021
    • Installation of HV equipment structures
    • Installation of HV equipment
    • Installation of cabling
    • Installation of control systems in Control Building
  • Phase 3 Commissioning stage Nov 2021- May 2022
    • Commissioning of installed equipment
    • Testing of installed equipment
    • Go live

Overhead line works Phase 2 & 3

Phase 2 – Tower foundations and Tower erecting

  • Install reinforced concrete tower foundations
  • Erect steel lattice towers

Phase 3 – Install conductors

  • Install wires from tower to tower

Loch Buidhe remote end works

The Loch Buidhe works have been awarded to Balfour Beatty as part of the main Dalchork contract. Construction programme for this section is Jan 2021 – May 2022. The works include:

 Civil works

  • Contractor compound establishment at the existing main substation
  • Access track off the existing track to a stone platform with imported stone
  • Construction a stone platform with imported stone
  • Install cable ducts from the stone platform to the existing substation
  • Install 40no+ small reinforced concrete foundations in the existing substation

Electrical Works April 2021 – Dec 2021

  • Install 2no cable circuits from CSE platform compound to the existing substation
  • Installation of HV equipment structures
  • Installation of HV equipment
  • Installation of cabling
  • Installation of control systems in Control Building


Commissioning stage Nov 2021- May 2022

  • Commissioning of installed equipment
  • Testing of installed equipment
  • Go live


Recite Me

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To make use of this function please click on the 'accessibility' button at the top right of the website. 

The data in this map is provided for indicative purposes only and may be subject to change. Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc do not accept responsibility for its accuracy, completeness or validity. The data should not be copied, reproduced or utilised externally without permission.

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. 

Public Road Improvements (PRI) at Dalchork

Work is underway on PRI works at the entrance to the new substation at Dalchork. Traffic management will be in place for eight weeks to protect the workforce while they undertake this work. The traffic lights are only in operation from 07:30 to 18:30 Monday to Friday.

Community Liaison Group - Initial Meeting

SSEN Transmission is calling on Lairg-Loch Buidhe residents to join its Community Liaison Group (CLG), to provide their input during construction of the new substation and replacement overhead line. The CLG will consist of key members of SSEN Transmission’s project team, including the Project Manager, Site Manager, and Community Liaison Manager, and we are looking for eight members of the local community to join them. If you are interested in being a part of the CLG, or want to learn more about it, please come along to the initial meeting taking place on- Tuesday 28th January 2020 18:30 – 19:30 Lairg Community Centre At the meeting we will agree the group membership, set out the parameters of the CLG, agree the Terms of Reference and discuss the frequency and timings of future meetings.

Decision Notice for Dalchork Substation

Project Update November 2017

Following on from the public meeting attended in February 2017 when we talked about the preferred route there has been a review of the generation background in the Lairg area within Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. The preferred project reinforcement option to progress changed from a 275kV to a 132kV overhead line circuit and in June 2017 we updated the community and website to reflect this. Over the past ten months, we have been revising the design, and we are now in a position to hold a public consultation event on 6 December 2017 at Lairg Community Centre to share this information and seek feedback on the project. We would encourage members of the community to come along to see the revised alignment and reduction in the tower size and substation footprint and speak to the project team.

Project Update

An internal review of the generation background in the Lairg area within Scottish and Southern Energy Networks has been ongoing. The preferred project reinforcement option to progress has changed from a 275kV to a 132kV overhead line circuit - this change will require a revised design and potential changes tower height, locations and numbers. Once a revised design is available a further public consultation event will be held to share with the community.

Project Update

We can confirm that options to reinforce the network between Lairg and Loch Buidhe remain under review. The review is being undertaken following a change to the amount of generation contracted to be connected to the network. The review will assess the optimum technical solution to deliver the necessary capacity to accommodate the need of all network users .

Lairg Map

At the most recent meeting with Dr Paul Monaghan MP and members of the local community, our project team explained that we are currently carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposed transmission reinforcement. This includes continuing consideration of design options which could offer potential to avoid, reduce or mitigate impacts identified – including landscape and visual impacts. As agreed at the meeting, we have published a map showing the latest iteration of the current design proposal, including indicative tower positions. This is not the final design proposal and will be reviewed in light of the findings of our continuing work. Please go to 'Project Documentation' to download.

Public Meeting

A public meeting will take place at Lairg Community Centre on Wed 5 October at 7.00pm, to further discuss the Lairg to Loch Buidhe 275kV overhead line and associated substation with the local community.

Lairg Loch Buidhe Newsletter March - June 2022
File Type: pdf
Published: 27 Apr 2022
SSEN - Lairg-Loch Buidhe Bimonthly Newsletter October November 2021

Related Projects: Lairg - Loch Buidhe

File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Jan 2022
Lairg Loch Buidhe August September 2021 Newsletter

Related Projects: Lairg - Loch Buidhe

File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Jan 2022
SSEN - Lairg-Loch Buidhe Bimonthly Newsletter June and July

Related Projects: Lairg - Loch Buidhe

File Type: pdf
Published: 28 Jun 2021
SSEN - Lairg-Loch Buidhe Newsletter Dec 2020

Related Projects: Lairg - Loch Buidhe

File Type: pdf
Published: 05 Jan 2021
SSEN - Lairg-Loch Buidhe Information Leaflet

Related Projects: Lairg - Loch Buidhe

File Type: pdf
Published: 05 Jan 2021
Lairg to Loch Buidhe Community Liaison Group: an introduction (June 2019)
Background information on the group, including details of its structure and mechanism

Related Projects: Lairg - Loch Buidhe

File Type: pdf
Published: 11 Jun 2019

Local People

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

Local Businesses

Balfour Beatty
  • Balfour Beatty’s power transmission and distribution teams work with regional, national and international electricity network owners and operators to provide technical engineering solutions.
  • Address:
Gow Groundworks, Halkirk
  • Established for over 7 years, Alan Gow Groundworks are specialists in groundwork, concrete work and building and renovation work
  • Address:

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