Following an extensive consultation process, SSEN Transmission has submitted a Section 37 planning application to construct a new overhead electricity line, providing an essential reinforcement of the transmission network in the Western Isles. 

The multimillion-pound project will replace the existing 132kV overhead line (OHL), built in 1990, which runs for approximately 58km between Harris and Stornoway.  Due to the current line’s location, in sections crossing steep terrain, it has been susceptible to severe storm damage from the high winds that affect the region, resulting in ongoing maintenance work and monitoring. The planned replacement is essential to maintain network reliability and support the secure electricity supply to homes and businesses along its route.

The project will construct a new 132kV OHL wood pole trident line between Harris Grid Supply Point and Stornoway substation, replacing the existing single pole trident design with a new, more resilient, “H” Pole trident wood pole line. The new overhead line will largely follow the same route as the existing one, which will be dismantled and removed upon the energisation of the replacement line.

Steven Miller, SSEN Transmission Senior Development Project Manager, said: “We’re delighted to see the Stornoway to Harris overhead line replacement project taking the next step forwards with the recent submission of our Section 37 Planning Application.

“The proposed Stornoway to Harris overhead line replacement project will allow us to upgrade the existing 132kV connection in the area with new wooden poles, which are more resilient during high winds and storms, allowing a more robust network and reducing the risk of faults. 

“We believe our proposals strike the right balance between the range of factors we need to consider in the development of our major infrastructure projects, and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the development of the project to date.”

Extensive studies have taken place to identify the best alignment for the project, particularly in relation to key environmental designations along its route, while also looking to minimise the impact on the local community as much as possible. 

The submission of the Section 37 planning follows over two and a half years of consultation, including four consultation events and the distribution of consultation booklets to over 4,300 homes and businesses along the route. The feedback received during the consultation helped shape the project’s final design ahead of the planning application to The Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit.

To find out more about the project, visit:

Image source: Courtesy of SSEN Transmission

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