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Laggan public consultation on new Melgarve 'cluster project' moves online

By Gavin Musgrove

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Laggan Communty Hall was to have staged the public exhibition on the proposed major new developments to connect local wind farms with the Grid.
Laggan Communty Hall was to have staged the public exhibition on the proposed major new developments to connect local wind farms with the Grid.

Public consultations for a new development to instal three new connections from local wind farm developments as well as substation upgrades at Melgarve have moved online.

SSEN Transmission said the decision has been taken for safety reasons due to the recent increase in coronavirus cases across the country caused by the Omicron variant.

Two in-person events were planned to take place at Fort Augustus Village Hall and Laggan Community Hall next week but have been moved online in response to recent changes in Government guidance and to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus in the communities.

A spokesperson for SSEN Transmission said the online virtual consultations will be held on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 January between 4pm and 7pm each evening.

She said: "The online events are designed to be fully interactive, allowing for presentation of key project information and plans.

"Visitors will be able to engage directly with the project team via a live instant messaging chat function, where they can ask any questions they might have about the project and share their feedback on the current proposals."

The Laggan exhibition was due to take place in the community hall on Tuesday from 2pm to 7pm.

The new online events follow on from two earlier online sessions held in December, which provided a chance for the public to find out information about the project.

The project, collectively known as the Melgarve Cluster is needed to connect the nearby Glenshero wind farm, Cloiche wind farm and Dell wind farm into the existing Melgarve 400/132kV substation.

This will enable electricity to be exported from these wind farms to the national power grid.

Around 5.5 kilometres of underground cable is proposed to be constructed to connect Glenshero wind farm to the substation, with 11 kilometres of overhead line required to connect Cloiche wind farm and 16 kilometres of overhead line required to connect Dell wind farm.

Gayle Bennie, SSEN Transmission project manager, said: “Safety is our number one priority at SSEN Transmission, and with coronavirus levels increasing across the country we’ve made the difficult decision to move our two planned in-person events at Laggan and Fort Augustus online to help keep the public safe and reduce any risk of infections.

“All stakeholders have been informed of the change to online consultations, and we encourage anyone who is interesting in learning more about the project to come along to one of our virtual sessions on Monday or Tuesday next week.

"The project team will be on hand to share any information about the schemes and answer any queries.

“The proposed Melgarve Cluster project will allow the connection of three new proposed wind farm developments in the area to the transmission network.

"This will allow the transportation of renewable electricity from where it’s generated to where it’s needed, supporting the transition to net zero emissions and the fight against climate change.

“We welcome any comments about the proposals and look forward to hearing more from the local community during the online consultations.”

To find out more about the project and sign-up to join the consultations click here

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