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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.”
Useful site for more information here.