Joan McAlpine MSP has secured a vital meeting with energy regulator Ofgem for local people concerned about the proposed upgrading of the electricity transmission network that would see a series of new electricity pylons erected across the region.
The energy regulator agreed to meet campaigners to discuss the pylons after speaking with Joan McAlpine at the Scottish Parliament last week. Ms McAlpine welcomed the fact that Ofgem acknowledged the importance of taking local views into account and she outlined the concerns of local people, particularly the planned routing of powerlines in areas where there are no pylons at present.
She said: “The discussion I had with Ofgem was very helpful and there was a marked change of attitude from them concerning their interest in listening to local concerns.
“During the talks Ofgem revealed they have introduced a new consultation stage designed specifically to iron out difficulties before proposals enter the formal planning process. This is good news if it gives local communities the opportunity to directly influence the direction of the proposals.
“These are early talks but I’m glad Ofgem have agreed to meet with campaigners at the Ofgem offices in Glasgow to answer questions and listen to the campaigners’ issues. Local people and communities have very grave concerns about the impact of these proposals and I am pleased to have been able to make sure their voice is heard.”
At the meeting last week Ms McAlpine also questioned Ofgem about funding for undergrounding powerlines in areas acknowledged to be of great scenic beauty and she questioned the necessity of the proposed high voltage on the powerlines. She added: “Organisations and businesses have a moral and legal duty to listen to the concerns of communities who are affected by their work. I shall continue to be a strong voice for my constituents on this issue and will be taking a very close interest in the outcome of this meeting.”