Campaigners welcomed the scaling down of plans. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Campaigners welcomed the scaling down of plans. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Campaigners have welcomed the scaling down of plans to build a chain of electricity pylons from western Scotland to Cumbria.

The John Muir Trust said the planned power line would have hit tourism and had an impact on the landscape.

It said it was pleased Scottish Power had reconsidered its proposals, and added: “In the face of mass public opposition, the company has announced a drastic reduction in the scale of the Dumfries and Galloway strategic transmission reinforcement scheme, which also includes a further power line from Kendoon to Tongland, and three new mega substations that will no longer be required.

Helen McDade, head of policy for the trust, said: “This is excellent news.” The JMT argued in its 2015 consultation response that the technical and economic case for the new scheme had not been made. The pylons would have been up to 50m tall and run from Ayrshire to near Carlisle.

She said: “It’s a great day for local people and community groups across Dumfries and Galloway, who were rightly concerned about the scale of the original proposal and its potential impact on landscape and tourism.

“While economic considerations have influenced the decision to scale down the project, I believe a very significant factor has been the sheer weight of local public opinion, thanks to the strength of the campaign waged by Dumgal Against Pylons.

“I would commend Scottish Power, Ofgem and National Grid for consulting early and listening to the responses, which contrasts with the high-handed approach adopted by energy companies in the run-up to the construction of the Beauly-Denny line. Hopefully, this demonstrates a step-change in the way new transmission proposals are progressed.”

Alan Jones, chair of Dumgal Against Pylons said: “It’s good to see that Scottish Power has listened to the concerns of residents, community councils, Dumfries & Galloway Council, elected representatives, and the many organisations who exist to preserve Scotland’s wellbeing. It is heartening that their revised scheme follows the principles we have argued for.

“In addition, they have recognised that the deployment of on-shore wind farms is slowing down due to the changing political scene.”

But he warned the secondary line between Kendoon and Tongland near Kirkudbright is still on the table. “This is a sensitive environmental region so we need to pursue our goal of estimating the impact on the area.

“Such an impact assessment exercise, carried out by an independent research organisation, could provide a blueprint for further UK infrastructure projects.”

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