View Full Version : Switching station - "no site decision has been made"

23-Apr-13, 15:28
Longreen option a precaution say SSE

THE power company looking to establish a controversial, high voltage, electricity switching station on the north-east coast of Caithness has appealed to protesters who claim it will be a health hazard, not to pre-judge the issue.
Scottish Southern Electricity stresses that no decision has been taken regarding the site and they are still assessing the possibilities.
The company’s major projects manager, Gavin Steel ,was speaking following last week’s meeting of concerned Sinclair Bay Community Council which has formed an action group to fight any proposal to site the station near to the village of Keiss. They claim it could be a health hazard, as the station would generate electric and magnetic fields which would pose danger to children and could even force some villagers to move away.
Council secretary Vicky Mackay says that they really don’t want the switching station anywhere on the east coast area, the preferred options will be drawn from, but their priority is to keep it away from Keiss.
She said: “The biggest worry is that the station is the first facility of its kind in Europe and it has not been proved that it is safe.”
The switching station would, if approved by Highland Council, accommodate renewable energy from the islands and the Pentland Firth for transmission through to Morayshire. The development would involve a strengthening of the power network in Caithness through new and existing substations.
SSE have mapped a general area from north of Wick, including Noss Head, taking in Sinclair Bay and six kilometres inland from the shore, from which to make a choice.
Mr Steel said that the appraisal was ongoing and they had yet to settle on preferred options.
He said: “Once we have worked through the process we will be able to update the council about the preferred sites in the coming months.” The company made a presentation to the community council last November and had met it again in February.
Addressing an impression held by the community council that a site on land in the Longreen area had already been earmarked as the preferred option, Mr Steel said that SSE had taken an option on land there as a routine precaution to prevent anyone stepping in and buying it. The project manager said that this should not be regarded as a preferred site and added that that they had “put their cards on the table” regarding the option and advised the community councillors of this.
Mr Steel made the point that he had expressed a desire to attend the community council‘s action meeting, last Thursday to try to allay their fears, but had told this wasn’t possible.
Once SSE decided on a preferred site, it would submit an application for planning permission to Highland Council and local people, on both sides of the issue would have an opportunity to submit representations.
Commenting on the community council’s health fears, Mr Steel said that safety was SSE’s first priority in all their projects and their substation proposals, if approved, would comply fully with relevant legislation and the government’s rigorous guidelines for the electricity industry.