Power lines and pylons get pretty in £500m project

A £500 million fund aims to help minimise the visual impact of electricity infrastructure on natural scenery. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has recommended 10 sites to be part of the Visual Impact of Scottish […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A £500 million fund aims to help minimise the visual impact of electricity infrastructure on natural scenery.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has recommended 10 sites to be part of the Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets (VISTA) scheme, administered by regulator Ofgem.

The project is part of a UK-wide programme to minimise the visual impact of pre-existing transmission infrastructure, such as towers, overhead lines and substations, in National Parks and National Scenic Areas.

Ofgem has set aside funding for the three GB Transmission Owners to bid into for their individual projects.

The recommendations from SSEN include four engineering schemes, two in the Loch Lomond National Park and two in the Cairngorms National Park, with a further six landscaping proposals across a number of locations.

David Gardner, SSEN Director of Transmission, said: “With much of our network dating back to the 1950s when power was first delivered to the Highlands and Islands, consideration of the visual impact of this infrastructure was less pronounced, in part due to the planning rules in operation at the time.

“Whilst we now have more rigorous processes and consenting regimes for new infrastructure projects, VISTA offers a unique opportunity to look again at our assets and mitigate their impact in some of Scotland’s most precious landscapes.”