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Controversial powerline plans could be scaled back

Pylons. Credit: PA

Controversial plans for upgrading power lines with a new network of electricity pylons in southern Scotland could be scaled back.

Scottish Power Energy Networks wants to build a new line across Dumfries and Galloway.

They say the current infrastructure is outdated.

Under the original proposals, the line would have stretched 109 miles across South West Scotland, from Auchencrosh in South Ayrshire, to Harker in Cumbria.

Thousands of pylons would have run from Auchencrosh to Harker. Credit: ITV Border

But having analysed the feedback it received during the first public consultation into the scheme, the company now says further consultation is needed.

It says changes in the industry could affect the "scope of the project".

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their input. We understand the project is of considerable interest to residents and other stakeholders in the area and we were very appreciative of the level of engagement in the consultation process.”

– Colin Brown, Project Manager at SP Energy Networks
Campaigners. Credit: ITV Border

The campaign group DumGal Against Pylons, who are against plans to build a new power line across Dumfries and Galloway, have welcomed the decision to rethink the proposals.

In a statement today, they said:

We welcome the recognition by Scottish Power that external factors have changed since they launched their consultation in June 2015; with the withdrawal of public subsidy for on-shore wind and the doubt over the future mix of power generation in Scotland.

While we have always recognised the need to replace the existing system because of its age, and add some future-proofing, this 'pause for thought' aligns with our thinking. It will give Scottish Power the time they need to take into consideration not only the extensive feedback but also to reflect on how best to meet the changing external environmental circumstances.

However, during this reflection process it is clear that at least two things need to happen.

The first is that the existing stakeholder liaison group comprising of statutory consultees needs to be expanded to include additional bodies that can represent and advise on local issues.

Secondly, there is a need to undertake independent research on the impact this project could have on the economy of, as well as on the lives of those living, working and enjoying recreation within Dumfries & Galloway and beyond."

– Alan Jones, Chair, Dumgal Against Pylons