Save our Mearns gains national exposure on flagship BBC news programme

By bellmannews / May 19, 2024
Screen shot of lady in audience

By Joanna Fraser

Anti-pylon protestor Kate Matthews shone the national news spotlight on the issues behind the Save our Mearns campaign on Thursday evening. 

On the BBC Question Time programme hosted by Fiona Bruce from Aberdeen, she raised the question of the “looming pylon clearances” being caused by electricity giant SSEN’s plans.

Ms Matthews asked the assembled panel of the SNP’s Stephen Flynn MP, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Alex Salmond of Alba, Scottish Conservatives’ Meghan Gallacher and podcaster Iain Dale who is going to protect the countryside from mass industrialisation.

She explained to Ms Bruce that the 70-mile Kintore to Tealing overhead line is just one of the infrastructure projects planned by SSEN in the next six years.

“t’s not just Kintore to Tealing, it’s the Western Isles to Beauly, it’s Spittal to Beauly, it’s Beauly to Peterhead … there will not be an acre of countryside left to enjoy,” she said.

A 100-mile power line will travel from the hamlet of Spittal in Caithness to Beauly in Inverness-shire. From Beauly, another line will stretch 120 miles to Peterhead on the Aberdeenshire coast with substations along the way.

Following the programme, Ms Matthews said: “I was so glad to have the chance to speak out on behalf of communities across Scotland and it was good to see that Fiona Bruce appeared to have been briefed about our plight.

“It was however very disappointing – if unsurprising – that our elected representatives avoided answering the question.

“It’s up to each of us to push our MSPs and MPs to answer: how are they going to protect rural Scotland from mass industrialisation?”

The hour-long programme was broadcast across the UK on BBC One last night (Thursday) and is normally watched by two to three million people.

This spotlight follows the issue being raised in a members’ debate at Holyrood earlier in the month, when MSP Tess White introduced a motion on new energy infrastructure in the north of Scotland.

A bus organised by Save Our Mearns was packed with campaigners from Aberdeenshire and Angus, who joined other protesters outside the Scottish parliament to voice their opinions against £20billion proposals made by SSEN Transmission to run new overhead power lines from Angus to Spittal in Caithness.