Orkney Heritage Society plans to erect a full size replica of the double ‘Trident Poles’ that SSE Transmission intend to erect in lines from Redland to Hoy via Finstown and down across South Ronaldsay and across Flotta as part of the new interconnector.

A 17m high replica of a Trident Pole will be hung from a crane at Crantit Farm, St Ola at 12:00 noon on Friday 26th of May. The pole will be near one of the proposed locations of the line of poles which is due to march across St Ola as they come from Finstown down to South Ronaldsay.

The demonstration is intended to alert Orkney residents to the scale of what could be being introduced into the Orkney landscape.

The pole will be left up for approximately 1 hr whilst photos are taken and the public will be encouraged to see the size of the structure from the road.

‘At 17 metres, these double poles will be taller than anything in Orkney today and we felt it would be useful for the people of Orkney to see just how big they are.’ explained Spencer Rosie, Chair of Orkney Heritage Society.

SSET are going to consult in the summer on the route these poles should take, but already they have been in discussions with land-owners. As a result of representations 3 years ago, some of the cables along the proposed route is to be buried, but not all of it. Although more expensive than putting wires on poles OHS is keen to see as much of the proposed route ‘undergrounded’. SSE decided to bury the cables that come in from Hoy up to Scorradale and they have agreed to bury them where they cross the main road at Finstown. As a result of public concerns expressed they are going to bury them at Hoxa on South Ronaldsay among some other places.

‘OHS is keen to let the people of Orkney see what is coming their way unless they tell SSE that they want to see more of the cable routes buried’ explained Spencer. ‘OIC have already agreed to bury their cables from their proposed wind farms to the sub stations which is really welcome and shows great leadership. Ideally we’d like to see SSET bury as much of the other cables as possible.

Burying cables can be more expensive than putting them on poles, but the experience of Denmark was that the cost was justified by increased reliability. ‘Denmark undergrounded all their existing cables in the 1990s after they lost much of their grid due to storm damage like we saw in Aberdeenshire last year’ explained Spencer. ‘As we increasingly rely upon the electricity network for our light, heat and vehicles we think it would be a false economy to put the new cables onto new even bigger poles and leave them exposed to the worsening winds.’ OHS believe that this is the moment to get ahead of the climate problem and also prevent the erection of over 1000 such poles across much of the Mainland and South Isles.’