Fury over power line plan: Staff of electricity firm ‘face threats and abuse’

Some of SSEN Transmission staff have allegedly faced verbal abuse and physical threats over the proposed construction of a 400kV overhead transmission line

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission has reported that some of its employees have been subjected to “verbal abuse and physical threats” over its proposals for a 400kV overhead transmission line in the north of Scotland.

The proposed project involves the installation of a fresh powerline stretching from Spittal in Caithness, located in the northernmost region of Scotland, to Beauly, situated near Inverness.

In addition, new substations are planned to be built at both of these locations to support the functioning of the powerline.

The company’s consultation process for the new power line from Spittal to Beauly has faced criticism in some communities, leading to the publication of an “initial response” to the plans, which run through Loch Buidhe in Sutherland.

In the company’s initial response to the feedback received so far for the project, SSEN Transmission said: “We would ask all stakeholders to help ensure engagement and communications of all types are conducted in a respectful and constructive manner.

“Regrettably, there have been several examples of verbal abuse and physical threats of a personal nature directed towards members of our team. This type of behaviour will not be condoned and if necessary will be reported to the relevant authorities.

“Whilst we fully accept that our proposals will have an impact on the landscape and local communities and understand not everyone will be accepting of this, we are committed to work with those willing to engage in an appropriate and constructive way to help minimise these impacts.”

The company has extended the deadline of the consultation period until 14th April.

A spokesperson for SSEN Transmission said: “The Spittal-Loch Buidhe-Beauly 400kV project is part of a GB-wide programme of works that are required to meet UK and Scottish Government 2030 renewable targets, including unlocking the first phase of the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round.

“In line with the UK Government’s British Energy Security Strategy, these reinforcements will help secure the country’s future energy independence by removing our dependence on and price exposure to volatile global wholesale gas markets through accelerating the deployment of homegrown and affordable low carbon electricity generation and the enabling electricity network infrastructure required to connect and transport this power.”

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