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Frequently Asked Questions

I have provided below a collection of the most common enquiries and concerns Angus constituents have raised with my office, and the information I have then received from SSEN in answer to these concerns. Please note the below information is not an endorsement and does not necessarily reflect my own views. 

Will These Lines Harm The Ecosystem ?

SSEN Transmission requires that this Project must deliver a 10% net gain in biodiversity across the Project. This starts by minimising the permanent loss of natural habitat. Where losses are unavoidable, new habitat/biodiversity will be established. Ornithology and ecology studies, including habitat identification and evaluation and the identification of habitat likely to support protected species, are currently underway to inform biodiversity net gain requirements and opportunities as part of the project design studies. Those surveys will also inform the ecological and ornithological impact assessments that will be prepared as part of the EIA process, next year. The scope of and approach to the survey work has been agreed with NatureScot. 

A detailed forestry assessment will be undertaken at the next stage of design when there is a better understanding of what trees will be impacted. This forestry impact assessment
forms part of the environmental impact assessment.

Underground cable at this scale could lead to much more significant habitat disturbance than a comparable OHL. These projects are steered by the National Grid ESO, and we are currently investigating options for an overhead line (OHL). Should there be a requirement to use underground cable (UGC) for a specific section of the route then this will be investigated.

SSEN says:

Will The Route Cause More Traffic ?

There will be additional construction traffic during the construction period. A traffic impact assessment will be undertaken as part of the Environmental impact assessment. In addition, the principal contractor will need to agree a traffic management plan with Angus council as part of the consent conditions. The consent conditions will also stipulate the allowed hours of work, which are typically 7am-7pm. As part of the consent conditions, we are typically required to sign up to a "wear and tear" agreement on the road. This sets out that after the construction period that SSEN-T will leave the roads in as good or better condition than when construction began. Suitable traffic routes and any upgrades would be developed during the next stage of design and further developed prior to construction.


SSEN says:

Why Cant't The Route Be Undergrounded ?

SSEN says:

The cost is 4-6 times higher for under ground cabling and as a regulated business SSEN must provide best value for customers.  It is easier to identify and address faults for an OHL. OHL also provides greater flexibility to upgrade based on future network requirements.]

Land-use – under ground cabling (UGC) would require construction land width of approx. 50 m along the entire length which once reinstated, land use restrictions may apply to this width to avoid risk of cable damage. Land use beneath OHL can generally return to previous use, although the operational corridor must remain free of trees.

Community impact (visual and noise) – OHL generally have a greater visual and noise impact than UGC however, long distance UGC would require additional equipment above ground to maintain stability of the network or to convert power from DC to AC.

This assumes that underground cable is less impactful but this depends on how impact is perceived. Underground cable at this scale could lead to much more significant habitat disturbance than a comparable OHL. These projects are steered by the National Grid ESO, and we are currently investigating options for an overhead line (OHL). Should there be a requirement to use underground cable (UGC) for a specific section of the route then this will be investigated.

Environment (land take) – the impacts to sensitive habitats and soils & geology associated with 50 m construction width for UGC would be substantial. OHL impacts are limited to tower footings, which can often be micro-sited to avoid sensitive habitats. Although impacts associated with access tracks also need to be considered.

Can The Pylons Withstand Bad Weather ?

The transmission infrastructure which uses the steel lattice towers is more resilient to adverse weather. As a result, it is less likely to fail and result in power outages. When a new OHL is designed, it is designed to withstand these extreme weather events and as such there is not likely to be any damage to this new OHL due to weather. If any damage is incurred on the OHL through weather or other means the length of time for repair is unlikely to change for a larger OHL, dependent on the damage.

The new OHL will be designed to withstand adverse weather and newer infrastructure is likely to reduce potential outages due to being designed to a newer and better defined standards in comparison to some of the older OHLs.


SSEN says:

How Will The Pylons Affect My Home ?

Once the alignment and final tower positions have been defined a line of sight assessment will be carried out and if the new OHL is impacting on any mobile or internet services appropriate mitigations will be carried out through conversations with the operators.


The principal health issues considered when developing and accessing projects of this type, are the impacts of noise on residential amenity and of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) associated with the conductors. Industry standards exist against which noise impacts and EMR risks are assessed, and we follow the guidance of Public Health England and National Grid on EMR. On noise, we model the possible sound emission levels from different elements of the OHL and substation and predict what impacts might be experienced at different receptor locations. This in turn defines what, if any, mitigation is required to ensure noise levels do not interfere with residential amenity. These studies inform the evolving design and continue through the EIA environmental impact assessment process. Regarding health and electrical pylons, Electric Magnetic Fields (EMFs) are considered as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. SSEN Transmission are obliged as part of our transmission licence obligations, to ensure that our assets operate within the limits specified in guidance from the UK Government. These limits are based on the advice of the Government’s independent scientific advisers - Health Protection Scotland and Public Health England (formerly Health Protection Agency, Formally NRPD) - who ensure the appropriate level of protection for the public from these fields. Health Protection Scotland and Public Health England are appointed by the Secretary of State to protect the public from dangers to health.

These organisations conduct and review relevant research and ensure that the guidelines for limiting exposure are based on the most appropriate available scientific information. Further information on the guidance can be accessed on the UK Government website;


SSEN says:

Will The Pylons Affect My Health ?

SSEN says:

The UK Government, following advice from Public Health England, has set guidelines on safe levels of exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). These guidelines, adopted in 2004, are based on international standards and supported by major health organisations. The electricity industry abides by these rules, ensuring that all new equipment is safe according to official guidelines, which include specific requirements like safe ground clearances.


Further information on EMFs can be found on ENA’s website.



Will I Be Eligible For Compensation ?

Compensation for any impact is determined by law, specifically the Electricity Act 1989 and the Land and Compensation Act 1973. Each compensation case will be reviewed individually based on these laws. We aim to limit the impacts and welcome feedback to help in this effort.


SSEN says:

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