Proposed substation at Garbole recommended for approval by planning officer.
The planning application for the substation proposed for site 5 in Garbole Wood will be determined at a meeting of the full Highland Council on Friday 9 September. Councillors will vote to refuse or approve the development. They will also consider a new 275kV powerline proposed to run from Knocknagael substation (near Inverness) over the hills to Garbole substation (if approved). The overhead line will consist of approximately 60 pylons with a maximum height of 60m (195 ft) and an average span of 300m (975 ft). Highland Council is a statutory consultee for this application and members will vote to either object or raise no objection.
These sessions will take place at Highland Council HQ, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness and are scheduled to begin at 1.00pm. They will be webcast.
Determination of the substation application will be preceeded by a pre-determination hearing during which the applicant, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE-T) and the objectors will be permitted to state their cases. Councillors will have the opportunity to ask questions and will then debate the application and finally vote on it.
A site visit will take place in the morning of 9 September to allow Councillors to see at first hand what is proposed. Hopefully they will experience the ambience around Garbole which makes it such a special place for so many people, locals and visitors alike.
The planning officer has produced his report for Councillors and unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, recommended members approve the substation application and raise no objection to the 275kV powerline.
Both these developments will intrude into the Strathdearn landscape but this threat has been dismissed as a minor issue. We maintain that it is NOT a minor issue for local people who hold ‘The Glen’ in great affection or for the thousands of visitors for whom the unspoilt upper Findhorn Valley is often the highlight of their travels.
The alternative site (known as site 6) proposed by the Campaign, would avoid an unsightly industrial development close to Garbole Bridge and a heavy 275kV powerline on pylons intruding into the unspoilt Strathdearn landscape.
We are up against a very powerful company and a Scottish Government whose dictatorial planning policy promotes industrialisation of some of Scotland’s most precious countryside, regardless of the views of local communities and the many visitors who help support their rural economies.
We will do our very best to convince Councillors that Garbole should not be sacrificed but should remain unspoilt for present and future generations.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has supported the Campaign. For those of you who have recently become aware of the threats to the Garbole area, please see the Newsletters posted on the Campaign website for historical information from the time SHE-T proposed a substation in the Glen to the present day.