MarySmith’sPlace #Giant pylons will ruin iconic landscape

From time to time on this blog I have shared some of the glorious countryside we have here in Dumfries & Galloway in South West Scotland.

Unfortunately, a huge area of this is now at risk of being ruined by Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) which has put a planning application in to the Scottish Government to erect 118 giant pylons (up to 39 metres tall) from Glenlee, near New Galloway to Tongland in the south near Kirkcudbright.

Stroan Loch, courtesy PhilMcMenemy

The route goes over or close to iconic Galloway countryside including, the Queens Way (the road from New Galloway to Newton Stewart), Raiders Road, Stroan Loch and the Otter Pool. Laurieston Forest and the Kenick Burn will also be impacted, along with an avenue of beech trees by the burn’s picnic area. The route also goes over the C13 road from Laurieston to Gatehouse of Fleet, a road beloved by everyone – locals and visitors alike.

The amount of traffic on the roads over the five years of construction work will be horrendous. Our narrow roads will become dangerous, noisy and all pleasure in driving will be destroyed – not to mention the huge inconvenience and health issues for the people living in the villages affected.

Photographer and owner of The Gallery in Laurieston, Phil McMenemy has been working flat out to raise awareness of this issue in time for people to put in their objections to the pylon scheme. He says: “This is our patch – this is my inspiration. I have to fight this – and I hope you can help.

“I would be very grateful if you could help us in our quest to get the project undergrounded, as occurs in many tourist-sensitive areas. It is going to be difficult but the more objections that are sent in the more chance we have. Objections from tourists would be a massive help because the Galloway economy is so reliant on tourism and the construction project will last a minimum of five years, probably commencing in 2023. Representations have to be sent to the Energy Consents Unit by the 13th November 2020.”

The pylons will endanger raptors in the area such as eagle, red kite and goshawk as well as endangered species such woodcock, cuckoo, willow tit, wood warbler, grasshopper warbler, song thrush, mistle thrush, spotted flycatcher, pied flycatcher, whinchat, grey wagtail, tree pipit, linnet, lesser redpoll. Lesser endangered species are red grouse, stock dove, tawny owl, house martin, willow warbler, dipper, meadow pipit, bullfinch, reed bunting. All of these species are at risk in Galloway and they all occur in the area of the proposed overhead line project. Laurieston Forest is the major stronghold for nightjars in Scotland.

Imagine a line of 39-metres tall pylons marching over this. Courtesy Phil McMenemy

Breeding grounds for otter, red squirrel, pine martin and great crested newt will be damaged.

It doesn’t have to be this way. An Underground Cable Study has already been carried out SPEN’s conclusion was that: “It is acknowledged by SPEN that the underground option is, in each case, technically feasible and, on balance, environmentally preferable having regard to landscape and visual as well as forestry impacts.”

Nevertheless, SPEN, who costed the underground route, have decided to go overground.

If you know this wonderful part of Scotland (even if only through my blog) and would like to object to the pylons being erected over ground you can send objections – by November 13, 2020 to the Scottish Government. By e-mail: or by post: Scottish Government, Energy Consents Unit, 4th Floor, 5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, Glasgow, G2 8LU. Whether by email or post Quote Application Ref. ECU00002128. Glenlee to Tongland 132kV Reinforcement Project. Including your name (block capitals) and your address.

Phil says: “I would be so grateful if you could help us. This is about all the villages here and all the businesses reliant on tourism – and about protecting something special and speaking up for the ecological diversity we possess and the beautiful landscape that simply cannot speak up for itself.”

These trees could face being destroyed if the pylons go overground instead of under. Courtesy Phil McMenemy

Useful site for more information here.

78 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace #Giant pylons will ruin iconic landscape

  1. They really would ruin these wonderful landscape???? I think the future will become horrible, if our politicans are not able to do for what they are elected, by the souvereign not by themselves. Thank you for the information, Mary. Will try to roll the drums here too. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on From Cave Walls and commented:
    I have enjoyed Mary’s blog so much and seeing the beautiful photos she posts of Scotland are always a source of inspiration. In this time when we feel helpless to do much about anything, this is one thing we can all do. Our environment is precious and this beautiful country side should be preserved. Would you take a moment and send an email and ask that these pylons go underground? And, if you do not yet follow Mary’s blog, today is the perfect day to start.

    Liked by 5 people

    • We really don’t learn very fast! I heard the man from SPEN on the news last night explaining that, although feasible, it would be much more expensive to put the cables underground – as if cost should be the deciding factor.


      • Exactly. What they only take into consideration is dollars/pounds, things like environmental costs are left out of the calculations. Citizens can unite and put them off, a few years ago they wanted to put a gas pipeline through our picturesque town and area, but the uproar caused them to rethink that and the plan got shelved. So UNITE and peacefully protest!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for re-blogging, Judith. Huge areas of England have had the cables put underground – but in Scotland and Wales, dependent on tourism and trying to protect landscape and wildlife – who cares?


  3. Why do we the powers that be seem set on raping this poor earth of ours? I have reblogged and will email immediately. Such beautiful countryside deserves to be protected. Goinging underground will be messy and might take them longer but it will heal . We must respect this planet. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Please Help Mary Smith. | willowdot21

  5. I have sent the email, and will reblog too. The last thing this country needs is more pylons, especially in places with such natural beauty.
    Did you know there was a Pylon Appreciation Society, Mary? They might be cajoled into helping with this, even though they love pylons!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sending your objection, Pete, and for re-blogging to share the message. It would be five years of total turmoil and destruction to get them in place – imagine huge trucks on single lane country roads! I didn’t know there’s a Pylon Appreciation Society but I can kind of get why. There is something awe-inspiring about their structure and what they do – but we don’t need them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on beetleypete and commented:
    Please help Mary and the other campaigners, by sending an email of protest to the address shown in her post. You don’t have to live in Scotland to appreciate the scenery, or to want visit as a tourist. Let’s try to stop another unnecessary blight on the landscape that makes bigger profits for electricity suppliers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those photos of the beautiful countryside and its flora and fauna say it all. How people can want to destroy that beats me. I too will object. It does leave one wondering what’s wrong with people!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary, your photos stunning. Alas, this is heart-wrenching. SPEN must have taken a few pages from Trump”s destroy nature playbook. My Scottish connection goes back to my great-grandfather so not a very close connection. My grandfather did serve in a Scottish regiment but was actually a Londoner by birth. As one who has always believed in treading softly on the land, I shall grieve its loss unless those doing this grow a conscience and desist. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish they were my photos, Lea. They were taken by Phil McMenemy who has a gallery in the heart of the area which will be ruined by the pylons. A great-grandfather is a pretty close connection! Listening to the man from SPEN on the news justifying the pylons being above ground he said it would cost more to put the cables underground – but he was only talking about the financial cost, not the cost of destroying wildlife habitats and landscape.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No lunch today. Between this and the election (Selection) I’ve no appetite. Have you ever pondered the fact that Nature is always referred to as Mother (feminin) and yet it is men who are obsessed with controlling her. She will have the last word and it isn’t the one they want.
        Trump is selling off America for fracking at a frigtening raite while denying climate change.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think we’re living through one of the scariest, most pivotal times in history. I just hope people start to understand the damage they are doing – but then when we had Lockdown and skies became clear of pollution I truly thought it was the time things would change. But, no, nothing did.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Are you telepathic or standing over my shoulder? Like you, I try to find the positive, the good in people and what is going on around me. Unfortunately, I jumped from the Good Ship Lollipop long ago and found my corner on the reality raft. I cannot pretend what is happening is something other than what it is. All those diverse young Progressives gave many of us hope. They are making strides despite the corporate barriers. Is there enough time for them to really change things? We do live in hope because sometimes we must. xx

            Liked by 1 person

    • There is an option and SPEN have said it is feasible to put the cables underground so they are looking only at the financial costs of the project and not taking the costs to the countryside, the wildlife and the people who live here into account. I don’t feel the same about wind turbines either and we do have a lot here but they are sort of contained in clusters.


  9. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    If you have enjoyed the beauty of Scotland which we have on several occasions then please head over to Mary Smith’s blog where she shares the horrific news that Scottish Power is going to erect 118 pylons along a long stretch of this beautiful countryside. There has already been a feasibility study on going underground which is often the case in areas of particular beauty and tourism, however they have decided on the above ground option. This will not only impact tourism but the habitat of wildlife and raptors.. Sharing the post and emailing the Scottish Government could make a difference…Please head over.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Diabolical and have emailed a very strong response. As an customer services and then operations director of a large cable tv and telephony company in the 90s we went through several years of digging up roads through cities like London and also rural areas in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. We went underground at every opportunity and although disruptive for a few weeks and sometimes months once underground with discreet street furniture, it was as if we had never been there. It can be done without leaving such a negative stain on the countryside and harm to residents and wildlife. I took the liberty of tagging Nicola Sturgeon in my retweet too.. Politicians need to refocus on the future and the Scottish economy needs the millions of visitors once they can return, especially if they are pursuing independence. Sorry about the long response, but I am appalled. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: MarySmith’sPlace #Giant pylons will ruin iconic landscape | Dragons Rule OK. V.M.Sang (author)

  12. Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    From Mary Smith some devastating news regarding pylons being erected above ground. There is a link to where you can email your support for the project of going underground with the pylons instead of above ground where it will harm so much wildlife and the beauty of the countryside. Please take a moment to help.


  13. My mother was born in Dumfries. That aside, there’s no excuse for blighting the landscape when there’s a perfectly good alternative. There are some studies that indicate some people living near pylons suffer from elctromagnetic sensitivity. I’ve made a formal objection. Thanks for drawing attention to this, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for putting in an objection – the more people who do, the more chance there is of reversing the decision. Does your mother still have family in Dumfries or did she leave when she was very young?


  14. She left when she was very young and moved to Morayshire. I have fond memories of summers spent on the beach at Findhorn and the terror of the low-flying Shackletons skimming over the house from nearby Kinloss.


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