Isle of Skye pylons plan: public urged to have their say on cable route through the West Highlands

A line of steel pylons like this one are being planned through Skye

Plans for a new network of steel pylons to run through Skye and the West Highlands will be put to the public next week.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is planning to replace the existing electricity powerline that runs from Fort Augustus to Ardmore in the north of Skye.

Next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (9 – 11th June) SSEN Transmission will host its first ever online consultation events to engage with the local community on plans to upgrade the transmission network.

The route the cable will follow

The company has said the current line, which was constructed in three distinct sections between 1956 and 1989, is now reaching the end of its operational life.

The volume of power on existing overhead wooden pole lines is limited, so the company says that massive steel structures will be required to meet the required capacity all the way from Fort Augustus to Edinbane.

Wooden poles will remain in place from Edinbane to Ardmore.

SSEN said it would be too costly to place the cable underground.

However, some consideration could be given to undergrounding the cable along the most environmentally sensitive sections.

The smaller wooden poles can’t carry the capacity

The replacement line is seen as essential to maintain security of supply to homes and businesses along its route, as well as to the Western Isles, which is supplied by two subsea cables from Ardmore point

In addition to keeping the lights on and improving network reliability, the replacement line will also deliver greater network capacity to allow the connection of new renewable energy generation.

Consultation on the proposal was originally planned to take place in March this year, but seven public engagements were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To access the consultation, and to view the plans click on the link

The public can contribute to the virtual consultation at the same link on Tuesday 9th June, 2-4pm; Wednesday 10th June, 10am-12 noon or between 6pm and 8pm on Thursday 11th June.