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SSEN Orkney Transmission Project – OHS Action

Orkney Heritage Society see SSEN’s (Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks) proposed works as a threat to Orkney’s heritage. The current proposals to create an Orkney electricity transmission network would see miles of tall poles and a very obtrusive electricity substation near Finstown.

For more information on and updates on the OHS’ campaign please follow our News page.

We are in favour of renewable energy and a properly designed network to export this energy out of Orkney. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to Orkney’s heritage and we fear the world – and Orkney – is running out of time to combat it.

Orkney Heritage Society have serious concerns regarding the proposed Trident poles – upwards of 700 very large double poles, standing 56ft high and 100 yards apart, which will stand in addition to the existing distribution network.  To give some context,  Orkney’s existing Hydro poles are 39ft in height.

We have put forward alternatives to SSEN. These involve a shorter route, across Scapa Flow, underground cabling on the entire route as opposed to part of it and much better design of the Finstown substation.

More than thirty people met at the Kirkwall Town Hall on 17 Dec 2018 to discuss SSEN’s proposals to upgrade Orkney’s grid connections. Representatives from RSPB, Community Councils, Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, Orkney Pilgrimage, Keep Hoxa Beautiful, and Orkney Field Club among others discussed the scheme after a presentation by Orkney Heritage Society’s Neil Kermode.

While OHS and most of those present at the meeting welcomed the growth and success of Orkney’s renewables industry, the general feeling was clear; that the planned extension of transmission capacity showed a wilful disregard for the landscape in which the people of Orkney live.  The overriding concern of the developers has been to keep costs to an absolute minimum regardless of visual impact on the environment.

In addition the verdict on the level and quality of consultation by SSEN was  damning –  minimal information, misleading graphical representations of visual impact of the proposals, and virtually no real consultation.  “Unfortunately SSEN are here to sell, not to listen” said Mr Kermode.  “The possibility of undergrounding the new cables instead of the unsightly ‘Trident’ poles was not included in the consultation exercise, and details of the results of the consultations have been withheld.  In addition the plans have shown little respect for the landscape, and when questioned on technical detail, SSEN have adopted a ‘we know best’ attitude.”

The above image is SSEN’s model showing the view from Grimeston Rd / Harray Rd junction, looking c. south showing the proposed sub-station buildings to the west of Finstown.

To see how your location will be impacted and for more detail on the proposed works, including maps showing the proposed routes of overhead power lines and locations of sub-stations, CLICK HERE

Please view the detail on the proposals and make your opinions known to SSEN via their website:

Also please complete an opinion poll set up by OHS:…/viewform