Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks Transmission (SSEN Transmission) has welcomed the decision, which will see 46 transmission towers removed from the Cairngorms landscape. The decision involves two sections of overhead lines, near the villages of Boat of Garten and Nethy Bridge, with both circuits to be replaced with underground cabling. The need for funding for the scheme had been announced in December 2018 (link opens in new tab).
The investment required to carry out both schemes totals £31.9m and is being funded as part of a £500m scheme administered by Ofgem. The scheme allows the three GB electricity transmission owners to bid for funding to mitigate the impact of historic electricity infrastructure in national parks and national scenic areas.
The two overhead lines to be removed are located in areas of the Cairngorms that attract some of the largest numbers of visitors to the National Park. The work builds on the removal of over 300 towers, covering a distance of over 90km, as part of the Beauly Denny project.
Euan Smith, who is leading SSEN Transmission’s Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets (Vista) project, said: "Once complete, the removal of this additional infrastructure will leave a lasting legacy for current and future generations by improving the visual amenity within one of Scotland’s most precious landscapes.”
As well as the two Cairngorms schemes, SSEN Transmission is progressing several other engineering and landscaping proposals across its network region as part of its Vista project. This includes schemes in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch National Scenic Areas.