South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has urged local people to make their voice heard on the new consultation on power line upgrades in Galloway.

SP Energy Network (SPEN) has launched the third stage of their consultation on the proposed improvements to the electricity supply between Kendoon and Tongland.

The company say that the Kendoon to Tongland 132kV Reinforcement Project aims to modernise the electricity network between Kendoon and Tongland, as the existing 132,000 volt (132kV) system is coming towards the end of its operational life.

Following confirmation of the proposed route for the project, SP Energy Networks (SPEN) have now identified detailed alignments for the new overhead lines, including potential sites for steel towers, wood poles, working areas and construction access points.

SPEN had originally wanted to build a new line from South Ayrshire to Cumbria – most of it through Dumfries and Galloway. The plans were heavily criticised by the public. However, SPEN it decided that the proposals were “not cost-effective” and are now proposing just 30 miles of new infrastructure between Kendoon and Tongland, in Galloway.

So far two stages of consultation on the scheme have taken place. Round one involved a public consultation on the preferred corridor, which was carried out from June

9th to August 31st, 2015. This was followed by round two, which was a public consultation on preferred routes, which was carried out from October 31st to December 21st 2016, with feedback accepted until January 13th, 2017. SPEN will now commence round three of the consultation today (20th November), which will run for 10 weeks until 26th January 2018. As part of the consultation SPEN will hold three public exhibitions in New Galloway (21st November), Kirkcudbright (22nd) and Mossdale (23rd) where members of the public can view the proposals and ask questions of our project team.

South Scotland Colin Smyth MSP said, “Obviously these plans are a major scale back from the original hugely unpopular proposal for a complete upgrade of powerlines from Ayrshire to Cumbria. However, it is still important that they are carefully scrutinised because they will impact on the area. Following the second stage consultation, SPEN are proposing a number of amendments. I would therefore urge everyone interested or affected by these proposals to take part in the consultation and urge SPEN to listen carefully to those views. Anyone wishing to take part can visit, and submit their views on these propos

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