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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
National park objects to pylons
Pylon at Cairngorms
The authority will take a formal view of the pylons plan
The Cairngorms National Park Authority has formally objected to a major upgrade of the electricity supply from the Highlands to Stirlingshire.

The authority's planning committee met on Friday to consider a recommendation from planning officials to oppose the proposed "super-pylons".

The objection focuses on a section of the route for the new pylons which goes through the 4,000 sq km national park.

The plans have been put forward by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).

They consist of 600 electricity pylons between Beauly in the Highlands and Denny, near Falkirk, running through the Cairngorms National Park and within sight of the Wallace Monument in Stirling.

Park authority convener Andrew Thin called on SSE to consider more seriously placing the lines underground.

He called on the Scottish Executive to set up meetings with all interested bodies to consider the whole proposal and avoid the need for a public inquiry.

SSE said it hopes to avoid the matter going to a public inquiry by continuing talks with councils.

A spokesman said: "If a public inquiry is called then we will go into that in a positive and constructive way.

"A much better option in terms to resolve the issues, if councils are not opposed to the line in principle and only some of the detail, is to hopefully continue talks to avoid, or at least reduce the scope, of a public inquiry."

'Green' argument

The larger pylons would reach up to 65m high, although there would be 200 fewer of them than at present.

Protesters have said the higher pylons would cause environmental and aesthetic damage.

But the industry forum, Scottish Renewables, argued that the upgrade was crucial to the future production of "green" energy.

Highland Council had already decided to object formally to the plans because of their "significant adverse impact" on certain areas.

Councillors also called for further investigations into alternatives to the pylons, such as burying the power line.

Anti-pylons campaign sign
Anti-pylon signs on the route of the proposed upgrade

Following that decision, SSE head of sustainable development Dr Keith Maclean said putting it underground would cost much more and mean environmental and maintenance problems.

But he said the option of burying some sections had not been ruled out.

Councillors in Stirling called for a public inquiry at meetings in February and March and will take a formal view at the council's planning committee on 4 May.

Clackmannanshire's full council raised an objection against the proposal in February.

The authority is not a statutory consultee, but councillors wanted to record their opposition because of their concerns the pylons would impact on the nearby Ochil Hills.

Perth and Kinross Council's planning committee also ruled against the proposal last week.


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Power line 'key for green energy'
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New power pylon route published
25 Jul 05 |  Scotland

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