CREICH COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Following public representations at
Non-quorate Community Council meeting
15th August 2023
Following representations by approximately thirty members of the public at an informal meeting in Bonar Bridge Village Hall on 18th April, the Community Council has written to SSEN expressing the views of those present with regard to the proposed SSEN pylon line route.
A major concern surrounds the general inadequacy of the consultation
process. Given the likely high levels of disruption to the community that would result from the proposed development being enacted, it was felt that insufficient effort had been expended by SSEN in publicising the local event where the details of the proposal were discussed. The consultation exercise would have been far more robust if each household in the community had been written to individually.
In addition to concerns regarding the overall consultation process, views were also expressed that the strategic need for any power line upgrade has not been clearly delineated by SSEN. Without information as to why the upgrade is required, it is difficult for the community to take a fully informed view of the proposal.
Considerable dissatisfaction has been expressed regarding the failure to properly provide details of alternative options to overhead lines such as the use of subsea cables or buried power cables. In the case of the latter, this is particularly relevant in areas which contain dwellings and other built infrastructure. The use of subsea cables would obviate the need for installing new overhead power lines through ecologically and economically fragile areas. If these options have been considered and rejected, we would request information as to the weightings given to the issues of costs versus, for example, impacts on local communities and the environment. Similarly, information as to the criteria and weighting utilised when assessing
the preferred routes for the overhead cables is sadly lacking.
The opinion of the public present at the recent meeting was to reject all the routes through the local area as currently proposed by SSEN. This area relies heavily economically on tourism and the proposed development, along with other infrastructure developments already consented, represents a threat to an already extremely fragile community. If the route goes ahead as planned, no clear information has been given as to potential benefit funds for those
communities affected in order to compensate for the disruption and damage caused. Concerns have also been raised as to the likely effect on property values and disruption to local businesses that operate out with the tourism sector.
An invitation has been extended for a representative from SSEN to attend a Community Council meeting to allow further discussions. The Community Council urges SSEN to respect the views of the community and enter into relevant discussions.
The Community Council has also contacted Ron McAuley of Strathpeffer Community Council to inform him that Creich CC will join with the other nineteen CCs listed as part of the forum set up to speak with one voice to SSEN on behalf of the communities directly affected.
The next Creich CC meeting is scheduled for 15th August at 7.30 pm in Rosehall Village Hall