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Final pylon felled in Scottish national park

3 May 22 A milestone has been reached with the felling of the final electricity tower at Glen Falloch for the latest in a series of projects to put cables underground.

Thirteen towers have been felled at Glen Falloch
Thirteen towers have been felled at Glen Falloch

Scenic Glen Falloch is located within the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, and the removal of the 13 transmission towers that were originally installed in the 1950s reduces the visual impact in the area.

The towers have been felled for SSEN Transmission’s third project under the GB-wide Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets scheme, known as Vista.

The towers at Glen Falloch, located to the south of Crianlarich, are being replaced by new sections of underground cable totalling to almost 4.5km in length. The cables have already been successfully energised to ensure power supply is maintained during the project.

The new underground cable route will replace the overhead line that passes through the glen and across the A82 trunk road and West Highland railway line. The cable has been installed using both open cut and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methods, to minimise any disturbance.

The project is the third Vista project to be carried out by SSEN Transmission to reduce the impact of its existing historic electricity transmission infrastructure in some of Scotland’s most valued landscapes. It is part of a GB-wide scheme by the energy regulator Ofgem, where transmission network operators (TNOs) can apply for funding to remove infrastructure in National Parks or National Scenic Areas (NSAs).

SSEN Transmission teams are currently in the final stages of another Vista project at Sloy near Inveruglas, on the shores of Loch Lomond, where 12 towers have been removed and 6.6km of cable has been put underground to improve the visual impact of the electricity infrastructure in the area. 

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A fourth Vista project is in the early stages at Killin, which will involve concealing 7.8km of cable and removing 31 towers in some of the most scenic areas surrounding the village, including where the line crosses the Falls of Dochart beauty spot and the A827 road.

Project manager Alistair McDonald said: “This is a huge milestone and a really exciting step in the Glen Falloch Vista project, where we’ll really see a difference in the visual impact with the towers being removed from the scenic landscape in the national park.

“The electrical infrastructure at Glen Falloch was originally installed in the 1950s, and thanks to the funding from Ofgem we are able to remove this infrastructure and underground with cables instead, helping to improve their visual impact in the area.

“The energisation of the new underground circuit means we were able to maintain supply of electricity seamlessly while we worked to remove the remaining towers, which involved a crew working to safely dismantle the towers one-by-one.  

“The project at Sloy is continuing to make great progress, with reinstatement work in the final stages ahead of the project expected to be fully completed in the summer.

Teams will now work to remove the remaining tower foundations at Glen Falloch before beginning work to reinstate access tracks in the area.

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