In addition to all the objections submitted by individual Community Councils to SPENs Strategic Reinforcement project a group called Dumgal Against Pylons have been working to produce a combined objection representing the views of all the Community Councils throughout the Region.
The photograph below shows members of the group handing in the combined objection to SPENs office in Dumfries. The combined objection makes clear that while Community Councils appreciate the need for an upgrade of the current transmission network they reject the current proposal in lacking sensitivity to visual amenity, destroying the natural beauty of the area and threatening the growing tourism and recreation industry, and the employment this sector generates.
So far 59 Community Councils have agreed to the objection (they are listed below) and we are encouraging more Community Council to do so.
A copy of the objection is shown below.
Scottish Power Energy Networks
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joint Response of the Dumfries and Galloway Community Councils to Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) D&G Strategic Reinforcement Project Notice of the proposal was first received in late May, by post, in a folder entitled “Powering your Future”. Distribution of the folder was such that just over half of the households within the corridor of SPEN’s preferred route claim to have received a copy. The period of the first consultation was stated to be June 8 to July 24, with 9 road shows at various towns along the route between June 9 and June 25. This short period of consultation was extended, after protests by our elected representatives, to August 31. This period is still inadequate, given the size of our Region and the fact that some Community Councils are in recess over the summer months. Notwithstanding these difficulties, we, many of the Community Councils affected and in the Region, have considered the proposal, and unanimously reject it as wholly unacceptable.
We do so for the following reasons:
- The proposals, if carried out, would destroy the beauty of the scenery along a large swathe of territory across virtually the whole Region. The proposed height of the pylons is such that the magnificent views of our gentle hills would be ruined for great distances. SPEN’s preferred route would wreck some of the finest scenery in the country.
- Tourism, an increasingly important part of the local economy, would be badly affected. Its value to the Region exceeded £300m for the first time last year with over two million visitors; 6000 full-time jobs depend on it directly, and at least a further 1500 indirectly.
- The local economy has declined since 2000; numbers employed in agriculture and in business in the Region are falling, and it is vital to encourage alternative employment such as tourism. This proposal would harm it.
The cultural, artistic, literary and historical heritage of the Region is abundant, and is reflected in the number of archaeological sites, listed buildings, and features of historical interest in the area. Tourists, scholars and visitors come in order to see these, and the more attractive the surroundings, the more likely they will be to enjoy and appreciate their visit, to speak well of it to others, and to return. To take but a few examples, the proximity of the pylons to Burnswark, an iconic hill, hill-fort and archaeological site visible for miles around, would wholly spoil the fine views of it. Thomas Faed, and James Paterson, famous artists from Galloway, painted scenes near or within the corridor.
- Visitors want to see the scenes as they were when they were painted. The home of our National Poet, Robert Burns, at Ellisland, lies within the corridor. The birthplace of Thomas Carlyle, the great Scottish author and philosopher, at Ecclefechan, is close to the corridor, and his home at Craigenputtock, near Dunscore, is within it. The surroundings and the atmosphere of all these homes, still largely unchanged, would be wrecked by a view of pylons. Spring Fling, in which artists show their work in their own homes would be adversely affected, as would the Galloway Forest Tours. The graves of the Covenanters, who successfully withstood tyranny, are visited annually by their descendants. It is vital that the setting of such attractions for visitors is protected, as there is clear evidence that the majority of the public find the landscape impact of pylons and overhead lines unacceptable.
- Wildlife, and birdlife, for which the Region is famous, would be harmed.
- Residents are deeply concerned at the damage to their residential amenity, and by the real possibility of harm to their health, which this proposal would create.
- Residents are deeply concerned about the substantial devaluation of their homes and property that this proposal would create. This loss of value would greatly exceed the additional cost of alternative means of transmission.
This project was planned when public subsidies for on-shore wind farms were in place. Planning applications are now fewer in number, and are increasingly being refused by both D&G Council and the Scottish Government, as the number of suitable sites diminishes. The removal of subsidies in June this year will accelerate this trend. It seems likely that the project, whose main purpose is to carry the power from the wind farms in Galloway away from our Region, is now over engineered, and the need for it, and its scope, should therefore and in any event be re-examined.
Recent research shows consumers are willing to pay a premium on household energy bills over an extended period in order to avoid overhead lines and pylons, and savings on constraint payments and a realistic write-off period should also be included towards funding alternative options in order to preserve the Region’s landscape. This would represent long-term value, and avoid so environmentally destructive and so economically harmful a solution as that proposed by SPEN.
We repeat that the pylons and the overhead line proposed by SPEN are totally unacceptable to the Community Councils affected, and to their constituents, and must be ruled out as a possible means of transmission. We are however willing to work with SPEN to help to identify a solution that is generally acceptable.
Auldgirth and District Community Council
Balmaclellan Community Council
Borgue Community Council
Brydekirk Community Council
Buittle Community Council
Caerlaverlock Community Council
Canonbie and District Community Council
Carsphairn Community Council
Castle Douglas Community Council
Closeburn Community Council
Colvend and Southwick Community Council
Corsock and Kirkpatrick Durham Community Council
Cree Valley Community Council
Crossmichael and District Community Council
Cummertrees and Cummertrees West Community Council
Dalbeattie Community Council
Dalry Community Council
Dalton and Carrutherstown Community Council
Dunscore Community Council
Eastriggs Dornock and Creca Community Council
Garlieston Community Council
Gatehouse of Fleet Community Council
Glencairn Community Council
Gretna and Rigg Community Council
Heathall Community Council
Hoddam and Ecclefechan Community Council
Holywood and Newbridge Community Council
Irongray Community Council
Keir Community Council
Kelton Community Council
Kirkbean Community Council
Kirkcolm Community Council
Kirkcowan Community Council
Kirkcudbright Community Council
Kirkgunzeon Community Council
Kirkmahoe Community Council
Kirkmaiden Community Council
Kirkpatrick Fleming and District Community Council
Kirkpatrick Juxta Community Council
Kirtle and Eaglesfield Community Council
Lincluden Community Council
Lochside and Woodlands Community Council
Loreburn Community Council
Middlebie and Waterbeck Community Council
New Luce Community Council
Parton Community Council
Port William and District Community Council
Southerness Community Council
The Royal Burgh of Annan Community Council
The Royal Burgh of Lochmaben and District Community Council
The Royal Burgh of New Galloway and Kells
The Royal Burgh of Whithorn and District Community Council
Torthorwald and District Community Council
Ruthwell and Clarencefield Community Council
Tinwald Parish Community Council
Tongland and Ringford Community Council
Troqueer Landward Community Council
Twynholm Community Council
Tynron Community Council