Frequently Asked Questions,  FAQs

Do the recent press reports that the Blackhillock to Kintore project is shelved mean that we no longer have to worry about it – that it is finished?

No, definitely not! The project has been placed onto a “Do not Proceed” basis by the National Grid. Their next report, due on 31 January 2019 could re-instate it. We must remain vigilant and continue to fight for an alternative solution –  preferably the underground or undersea option which is the subject of the Motion lodged by Mike Rumbles MSP.

Why is the SSE planning to build a new pylon line from Keith to Kintore?

The Keith ( Blackhillock ) Kintore Reinforcement project is designed to be a back up to the Beauly Denny Line, it will be a 400Kv line with pylons 50 metres + tall and spaced at 250-300mtr. The line will be designed to take power from the renewable energy projects in the north of the country to England and the Central Belt of Scotland.

What route will it take?

The actual route has not yet been decided but the SSE have decided that it will be within a preferred corridor which extends south and west from Huntly, via Gartly Moor towards the Howe of Alford and then turning east towards Kintore.

Is this the shortest route?

No it is not.  The shortest route is via the A96 which already has two pylon lines running alongside. Other options are available, such as routing the cable underground, upgrading the current power lines or via the planned undersea cable south from Peterhead.

Is the corridor the cheapest route?

We aren’t sure but it also adversely affects the pristine countryside which is particularly beautiful. Also it could well have a significant effect on local wildlife – the rare Scottish Wildcats are to be found in this area and huge flocks of geese and swans frequent the farmland in this corridor. The effect on tourism cannot be discounted as it will run close to many famous properties such as Leith Hall, Castle Forbes and Castle Fraser, to name but a few. The countryside is notable for having no pylons or windfarms in the area and is thus unspoilt. An asset which must be protected. What value do we put on the adverse effects!

If the official consultation process ended in May 2016, why has it taken so long for WAPA to arrange this opposition?

When the SSE held their Public Consultation, the issues and process where not widely advertised, only a very few limited pockets of residents were advised of the project. Initially, CLAMPA ( Craigearn, Laschangie and Monymusk Pylon Action ) was established when the project came to light, quickly followed by WAPA (West Aberdeenshire Pylon Action )  in an attempt to inform local residents of the SSE plans and to formulate a reponse.

Why are you objecting only to the Southern Corridor when the line originates in Beauly, surely you should be objecting to the whole route?

We have been motivated by local concerns, those who set up CLAMPA and WAPA did so  when they discovered how the plans affected their local community. We are in contact with other groups countrywide in order to establish a common approach and to learn from each other. Local groups have a better grasp of their own issues, but it does not mean we cannot work together.

 How can I object to the route?

There are many ways –  write to  your MSPs, the SSE ( Greig Taylor ) join WAPA, ( West Aberdeenshire Pylon Action ) group,. The WAPA web site, www.wapa.org.uk section “How to Object” lists the ways and useful wording to make more impact.

 Your presentations refer to objecting to MSPs, little mention is made of local councillors who will presumably be the first point of contact in the planning process, why is this?

Local councillors are indeed important, however it is essential to understand that, councillors are bound by certain rules which affect their reaction to projects. The most sensitive one is, if they express an opinion on an issue, they are debarred from voting in committee as it is considered they have already voiced an opinion. Nonetheless, they should be advised of objections and concerns rather than ask for active opinion / support. Ultimately, it is the Government which makes the final decisions and thus we have targeted MSPs. Councillors are always invited to attend our meeting to learn of the issues.

Why do you not seem to have anyone in your organisation who has technical expertise in power distribution?

We have been searching for expertise ever since the organisations were founded. Contrary to belief, there is very little technical expertise which is available to us. We have spoken to retired electrical engineers who either have not been involved in transmission or do not know of any who can assist us. The field is now very limited, it seems those who have expertise are directly involved as their employment and thus not able to assist. Nonetheless, we are constantly asking for help in this respect and trying to increase our levels of knowledge.

Why has this extraordinary corridor been selected when other more obvious routes have not been?

This is something we would like to know.  Regrettably, and so far, we have not managed to  obtain a definitive answer from SSE or other sources eg OFGEM.

When is the project due to be completed?

Currently, this is not known, The latest NOA report (Network Options Assessment 2017 -2018 ) actually makes no mention of this project. However, this does not mean it is cancelled – it could be resurrected in the next NOA report 2019. The original planning procedure was meant to be completed in 2019. This is still not finally put to bed.


Actions to oppose SSE plc’s plans for huge pylons in rural West Aberdeenshire – better options exist