David Martin MEP (Labour)

In a reply to concern raised by one of his constituents, David Martin replied as follows:

It is my understanding that a new run of pylons are being proposed following SPEN’s announcement that the existing run was coming to the end of it’s operational capabilities. However, I do not understand the need for the suggested replacement run to a) be comprised of pylons that are so much larger than those currently in place and b) why the proposed area is longer than the area occupied now. At the very least I would expect greater clarity from SP Energy Networks to justify any changes before the next round of consultations.

I welcome the objections outlined by organisations such as the John Muir Trust and National Trust for Scotland, organisations active in and concerned for the local communities that would be affected. It is also encouraging to see universal concern and opposition to the current proposals by local representatives of all political parties, and an overwhelming majority of local community councils.

My Labour colleague in the region, local Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has proposed that instead of larger pylons being put in place, SP Energy Networks should consider sea or underground cables to preserve the local countryside for vital tourism. I know that you and other local residents not only cherish the region’s landscape, but that changes could affect the local economy, housing prices and could disrupt local wildlife and the environment. These concerns should be prioritised in any reconsideration of or change to the current proposals.

I support Elaine’s calls, and those others in the Scottish Parliament and Councils seeking an alternative which would tackle any need for renewal, but one that adheres as much as possible to constituents’ concerns.

I understand that there will be four rounds of consultation over the next four years before revised proposals are finally submitted to Scottish ministers. I would hope that unlike the Beauly-Denny line decision, the Scottish government will adhere to the calls of the local communities and campaigners and listen and respond to their concerns. If, when the final proposals are submitted, the local residents are not satisfied they should not be adopted, and if appropriate, reconsidered.
As they stand, I feel that these plans justify neither the increase in size of pylons nor of the area of the pylon run, nor the cost for the local communities economically, ecologically and personally. I support the calls for the SPEN to listen to local views and criticisms and take them into fully account when submitting their final proposals.

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