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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005, 23:05 GMT 00:05 UK
Ramblers attack pylon expansion
There is concern over how the powerlines would impact on the area
Plans to erect huge power pylons across Scotland have been attacked by the Ramblers Association in Scotland, who claimed they would be "disastrous".

Scottish and Southern Energy plans to upgrade electricity pylons from Beauly near Inverness to Denny close to Falkirk with 600 pylons, some 67m high.

SSE spokesman Alan Young said the new power line was essential.

But Cameron McNeish, RAS president, said it would spoil a remote and environmentally sensitive area.

Part of the proposed line runs through the Cairngorms National Park.

We are concerned about the impact of this powerline and its relationship to the government's energy and environmental policy
Cameron McNeish
Ramblers Association Scotland

The firm plans 200 fewer pylons than present, but they would be larger.

SSE said the pylon line would ship power produced by new wind farms and hydro schemes in the Highlands and islands to customers further south.

Mr McNeish said it was concerned the SSE would create an "energy highway" in a remote area.

"This massive upgrade would be disastrous for the region," he added.

'Energy junkies'

"The result of this increase in transmission capacity will be to encourage even more giant wind turbines to seek connection to it in order to feed energy junkies down south.

"We are concerned about the impact of this powerline and its relationship to the government's energy and environmental policy.

"There is increasing opposition to large-scale, land-based wind farms in Scotland, and with the executive making changes to the funding arrangement to encourage more marine energy, government policy is beginning to point more in favour of large-scale schemes being located offshore."

The RAS has urged the executive to hold a public local inquiry to examine the implications of the project.

Mr Young said: "We have submitted an environmental assessment on the project, which is replacing existing pylons.

"The length of transmission line at Cairngorms National Park would also be reduced."

The Scottish Executive said it had received a planning application for the project and that it could be subject to a public inquiry.

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