£15m Cairngorms undergrounding project seeks public votes

£15m Cairngorms undergrounding project seeks public votes

Residents and businesses living close to the Cairngorms National Park in north east Scotland are being invited to a public information event by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to find out more about undergrounding power lines in the park.

SSEN is investing over £15m to underground 90km of overhead distribution lines in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and National Scenic Areas in the north of Scotland and central southern England.

The event will be held at the Victoria and Albert Halls, Ballater on Saturday 16 November to provide details of SSEN's undergrounding project, and ask members of the local community to nominate overhead wooden pole electricity lines in officially designated beauty spots that should be moved underground.

By understanding what matters to those living in and visiting the area, we can ensure we're investing in the right places where we know it will make a real difference


Michael Hilferty, SSEN

The electricity network operator is looking to work with local communities to target the sections of its network that will provide the greatest visual improvement to the natural landscape.

Michael Hilferty, head of North Caledonia Region at SSEN said: "Overhead power lines on our network provide a secure and cost-effective way of safely distributing electricity to our customers. We understand that in some officially designated beauty spots, some people may feel the lines have a detrimental impact on the natural environment.

"Ballater is the eastern gateway to the Cairngorms National Park and it's vital our local communities play an important role in this decision-making process. I'd encourage anyone interested in hearing more about our undergrounding project to come along, meet our teams and nominate sections of overhead lines they'd like to see moved underground.

"By understanding what matters to those living in and visiting the area, we can ensure we're investing in the right places where we know it will make a real difference."

Nominated areas will be assessed by SSEN and local authority planners.

Nominations can be made by visiting ssen.co.uk/undergrounding where local people can provide details of the location including a photograph, a reason why they think the line should be moved underground and information on anyone else in their local community supports the proposal.

SSEN notes that the cost to underground overhead sections can vary due to the voltage, length of circuit and geography, and these will be considered when selecting the final areas.

The £15m investment project is separate to SSEN's £31m Vista project, which stands for Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets, which draws on Ofgem funding for a similar purpose.


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Electricity North West is working to remove decades-old overhead power lines and electricity poles in the Lake District.

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Electricity North West has undergrounded power lines in the Lake District National Park.

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UK Power Networks has invested £3.2 million on upgrading underground power lines in Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) over the last 10 years.