The concerns of communities that will be most impacted by the proposed Beauly-Denny and Ullapool-Beauly pylon lines will be the topic of a series of meetings between campaigners and Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Eleanor Scott, on Friday 25 November.
Dr Scott said: “I want to listen to the views of the community groups that are campaigning to stop the pylons because I believe that they have legitimate concerns and I receive a great deal of correspondence on this issue. I felt it would be useful if I could meet with the various groups all together and give them a proper chance to talk around the problems and to discuss what might be possible to do to bring about a situation that is acceptable to everyone.
“The pylon extensions are being proposed in response to the plans for big wind farms, such as those on Lewis, which have not yet been granted planning permission. I believe we need a radical rethink about how we plan our electricity infrastructure for a renewable energy future, rather than just leaving it to so-called ‘market forces’. This should include in-depth analysis of the potential for submarine cables and undergrounding. However, the Executive has failed to develop a coherent renewable energy strategy, and the frustration over these pylon lines is one symptom of that underlying failure.
“Although I am in favour of renewable energy, I believe that we need a mix of technologies, not just wind, and I want to see a wide range of scales, with household installations and community schemes as well as bigger developments. I would also like to see much more investment into the potential of using renewables where they are generated to produce hydrogen to meet some of our other energy needs, like transport and heating, rather than assuming that all renewable energy must be in the form of electricity feeding into the national grid. The PURE project on Unst, Shetland, has demonstrated that this is perfectly feasible, and it could be a much more sustainable option for some remote areas than grid upgrades.”
Green MSP Shiona Baird has proposed legislation to help communities, households and small businesses install renewable energy devices.