Galloway Without Pylons (GWP), a local action group, was set up to protect a beautiful area of Dumfries and Galloway from being blighted by 118 giant pylons over 32.5 km between Glenlee and Tongland.
The project proposed by Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) cuts through the Galloway Forest Park close to major tourist attractions such as the Queensway Crossing, Raiders Road, Loch Stroan, Otter Pool, Red Kite Trail, Kennick Burn (and the ancient beech avenue), the Bennan, Slogarie and Laurieston Forests and Barstobrick.
SPEN applied for a 132kV overhead pylon line (OHL) from Kendoon to Tongland. D & G Council objected so their planning application went to a public inquiry.
GWP wants the section between Glenlee and Tongland undergrounded and argue that the extra cost should be spent to preserve the environment, wildlife and the local tourist industry. SPEN state “it is acknowledged by SPEN that the underground option is, in each case, technically feasible and, on balance, environmentally preferable having regard to landscape and visual as well as forestry impacts”.
The Scottish Government has received over 900 objections and not a single representation of support.
The RSPB have stated that they have significant concerns about the potential collision risk for nightjars. 95% of the Scottish population of this protected species is to be found in Dumfries and Galloway. The RSPB also have concerns for raptors including, golden eagles, osprey, goshawks and red kites.
Many land mammals found near the OHL route are included in the Scottish Governments Bio Diversity List. Water voles, brown hares, otters, pine marten, red squirrels and a variety of bats are listed either for conservation action or where negative action should be avoided.
It became obvious after experiencing the inquiry preliminary meetings that GWP were up against a juggernaut and that we desperately needed legal help. We found an expert planning/power generation consultant and a very experienced KC to help us at a very agreeable cost.
The Public Inquiry lasted 6 weeks and ended on 30th November. Our experts were brilliant and GWP has paid them £15,000 to date. Owing to circumstances out of our control they did a lot more work than anticipated, one of the reasons was that Dumfries & Galloway Council, who objected to the application which triggered the Public Inquiry withdrew 7 days before the Inquiry started.
Another complication is that the Scottish Government published 4 major reports since the inquiry finished and has stated “Parties are invited to provide comments on how, if at all, this document affects their case to the inquiry and its relevance to this proposal.”
The publications are (a) National Policy Framework 4, (b) Scottish Government Onshore Wind Policy Statement 2022, (c) Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, and (d) Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to 2045.
Our two experts, especially our planning/power generation consultant, will now have to do a great deal more work.
The “David v Goliath” analogy has just increased but with your help, we can complete the last part of the process which will give us a good chance of success.
Please help if you can and share the crowdfunding link: