The former South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has said the suspension of a key stakeholder forum appears to be the “latest death knell” for the strategic reinforcement project proposals from Scottish Power Energy Networks.
Ms McAlpine, who lobbied for community representation on the stakeholder liaison group, was this week informed by government officials that the forum will not hold any further meetings while the project review by SPEN is under way.
An official from the Scottish Government told Ms McAlpine:
“SPEN are currently completing a full review of their proposals. Once that review is complete it is the Scottish Government’s intention to consider the outcome and review options for progressing both the Statutory Stakeholder Liaison Group and proposed community liaison forum in light of the findings of the review.
“We do not anticipate any other meetings of the Statutory Stakeholder Liaison Group whilst the review is under way.”
Ms McAlpine, the SNP candidate for Dumfriesshire in the Scottish Parliament’s May election, said:
“Considered alongside SPEN’s announcement that they would be reviewing the project and the revelation that National Grid had ruled the plans to be uneconomic, the decision by government officials to postpone any further stakeholder meetings appears to be the latest death knell for SPEN’s proposals as originally conceived.
“I am not opposed to upgrading the network to safeguard the future of transmission in our region, but clearly there were still many unanswered questions about important issues such as the scale of the project, its route and visual impact. I will continue to be a strong voice for local people on this issue to ensure community concerns are addressed as any further developments unfold.”