Thursday, 7 January 2010
SNP Scottish Government need to Be Name and Shamed.
Controversial plans for a line of giant pylons from the Highlands to Central Scotland have been approved by the Scottish government.
Minister said the Beauly Denny upgrade would unlock Scotland’s renewable energy potential and bring a vital boost to the electricity grid. The development, which attracted more than 18,000 objections, will have to meet strict planning conditions.
Campaigners against the plan had called for underground or sub sea cables.
SNP Minister Jim Mather's statement on the Beauly-Denny power line proposal has simply ‘caused confusion for supporters and opponents of the proposal alike’, according to Labour's Energy spokesperson Lewis Macdonald. "This was a confused and indeed chaotic announcement," Mr Macdonald said, following Jim Mather's statement at Holyrood this afternoon. "All the Minister had to do was tell us his decision, explain the conditions he had attached, and say what their impact would be on the timetable for building the upgraded line. "He did say he had consented the application, but otherwise he failed on all fronts. "Jim Mather told MSPs that he would "require the power companies to bring forward a range of improvements to the wirescape and undergrounding of a number of existing lines," and then said he had no powers to require undergrounding of transmission lines. "He said he would require undergrounding or improvement of 86.5km of electricity cables, but he would not say how much would be undergrounded or how much would be "improved" - whatever that means. "He was asked five times whether new planning applications would be required as a result of the conditions he had set. Eventually he said he knew of no reason why that would be needed - but that he would have to wait to see what the companies proposed to meet his conditions before decisions on new consents could be made. "He said work would have to start within 4 years, but then he said he hoped it would start in 2010. He would not say when he thought the line would be commissioned. "It is no wonder Scottish and Southern Electricity don't know what he means. The developer said this afternoon: "Construction of the line can only begin once it is clear that the conditions associated with the consent announced by Scottish Ministers can be satisfied." Mr Macdonald continued: "If SSE don't know what is being demanded of them, it is no wonder that everyone else is baffled by the Minister's performance today."