Consultation Response and Petition – Do Better!

By bellmannews / April 10, 2024
large pylon looming over countryside

STONEHAVEN and District Community Council, SDCC, have decided they cannot submit a response to SSEN as they have not been provided with enough information about the transmission company’s proposals.

Meanwhile, the action group Save our Mearns have lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament asking it to, ‘address the concerns about the lack of meaningful, responsible, and robust’ consultation.

SSEN recently extended the consultation period on its proposed Kintore to Tealing 400Kv connection to April 30. Two possible routes are mapped as it passes Stonehaven together with a new substation in Fetteresso Forest.

Despite the possibility of power lines within sight of the town, a large substation in its backyard and the impact of construction traffic, Stonehaven was omitted from list of communities being offered a consultation session. After a request from SDCC, an afternoon presentation was provided at the Recreation Grounds on March 11.

At last night’s meeting, members said they were not satisfied with SSEN’s efforts, as working people could not attend. They said SSEN avoided questions about the impacts of future projects, such as the Glendye Wind Farm and future offshore wind farms, which would tie into and add to the proposed electrical infrastructure.

Chair David Lawman said: ”We are only being asked abut two things just now but in the real world if this network connection goes in, then everything will come afterwards.”

He added: ”There are other projects coming on stream. But SSEN tried to focus only on one thing at a time.

”But there is a big picture and they are not telling us everything.”

Consultation or ‘done deal’?

Jim Stephen said he had attended the event at the Recreation Grounds.

”It felt like a done deal,” he said.

”This is driven by Westminster and the Scottish Government. It was a token gesture to the community. It was a tick in the box.”

Save our Mearns campaigner Tracey Smith, who lodged the petition today with Holyrood, attended last night’s meeting online. She urged SDCC to demand a proper consultation.

”Stonehaven was an afterthought for SSEN, ” she said.

”I know that as you had to ask for a session. What they presented was quite disgraceful, it was not one of their statutory consultations.”

Saying SSEN had chosen to deliver their full consultation in Drumlithie rather than Stonehaven, Ms Smith urged SDCC to demand better for their town.

She said: ”They have not conducted any meaningful consultation in Stonehaven.”

Ms Smith said Save our Mearns had adopted a ‘just say no’ approach, she added: ”I am hopeful that local democracy will win and there will be no substation in Fetteresso Forest and no overhead lines.”

SDCC agreed, unanimously, to ask SSEN for more time to respond and for a full consultation event on the project to be delivered in Stonehaven.

Anne Matthews - April 10, 2024

Well done SDCC on challenging the dishonest and disingenuous behaviours of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks in barely going through the motions of inviting public comment on their commercially-motivated proposals to build giant new pylons and overhead lines down the length of Highlands. Scottish Government must set specific standards & requirements upon developers of ALL TYPES of electricity/energy INFRASTRUCTURES to ensure honest full disclosures by developers; and to honestly advertise widely to the general public and to actively enable the general public to have say on what developers seek to do. SSEN’s parent company SSE have been buying TV advertising boasting their work but SSEN FAILED to advertise on TV their public consultation events! Their failure to honestly engage the public has included not even trying to display public event posters on the doors of the buildings where SSEN held their so-called ‘ consultation events’! So passers by were kept ignorant of events, missed a chance to get info and have a say. SSEN’s events advertising of venues and dates was so low-key that many homes actually within sight of proposed pylons received NIL notification. Please sign this petition – it requires only your name, postcode and email-address demanding standards for public consultations on energy intrastructure proposals

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