Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets (VISTA)

Our aim is to plan, develop, operate and maintain a safe and reliable electricity network in the north of Scotland. The towers, overhead lines, substations and other infrastructure that we own and maintain are at the heart of this network. A lot of our infrastructure runs through some of the country’s most remote areas, including National Parks and National Scenic Areas.

We are running the Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets (VISTA) consultation to help reduce the visual impact our infrastructure has on the countryside. We will be utilising part of a £500m fund established by the energy regulator Ofgem to complete any work we undertake. This can include screen planting around substations, undergrounding some overhead lines, and additional landscape enhancements linked to visual impact, such as improving path networks.

We want to receive as much feedback as possible from people to help inform the decisions we make. If you would like to help, attend one of stakeholder sessions or want more information, please contact us on or keep a close eye on the website for updates and opportunities.

Policy documents

VISTA policy document
File Type: pdf
Published: 15 Sep 2016
VISTA policy annex
File Type: pdf
Published: 15 Sep 2016

The Ofgem fund is only available to mitigate the impacts of transmission infrastructure (132kV, 275kV and 400kV overhead transmission lines and substations) in National Parks and National Scenic Areas (NSA). We have identified electricity infrastructure within the following designated landscapes:

• Cairngorms National Park (which includes the Cairngorm Mountains NSA);
• Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park (which includes Loch Lomond NSA);
• Ben Nevis and Glen Coe NSA;
• The Cuillin Hills NSA;
• Dornoch Firth NSA.
• Glen Strathfarrar NSA;
• Knoydart NSA;
• Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon NSA;
• Loch Tummel NSA; and
• South Lewis, Harris and North Uist NSA.

VISTA project map

VISTA project map
A map of our infrastructure in the areas mentioned above.
File Type: pdf
Published: 15 Sep 2016

Engaging with our stakeholders

It is recognised that stakeholders’ involvement is essential to understand the existing impacts that our infrastructure may have and to investigate potential mitigation measures which can contribute positively to each designated landscape. To ensure that our assessments are reflective of stakeholders’ views, we wish to involve as many relevant parties as possible. We are therefore seeking your input and local expertise with regard to these designated landscapes, and the types of issue we may want to mitigate.

Please note, for our transmission assets within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park we are working with Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) to ensure our approaches are aligned and complimentary.

Undergrounding wooden poles

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc (SHEPD), the distribution company in the north of Scotland has a target, over the next eight years, to underground 90 km of wood pole overhead lines in National Parks and National Scenic Areas.  The scheme is open to everyone, all they ask is that you complete the form on their website and include a photograph of the area including the wooden poles and overhead lines.