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Work starts on removing 46 pylons in the Cairngorms National Park

By Gavin Musgrove

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The first of the towers falls to the ground as part of the mitigation for the Beauly-Denny scheme.
The first of the towers falls to the ground as part of the mitigation for the Beauly-Denny scheme.

The first of 46 transmission towers has been toppled in the strath as part of the mitigation work for the Beauly-Denny mega pylon line.

Over the last 17 months, a team from SSEN Transmission and their principal contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, have been working in Strathspey laying new underground cable to replace a section of overhead line running from Docharn Woods to Nethy Bridge.

With all the cable now laid, the team are setting about removing the 12 kilometres of overhead line and dismantling 46 transmission towers.

The SEN Transmission’s Cairngorm VISTA (Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets) scheme is costing £31.9m.

It has been funded as part of a £500m scheme administered by the energy regulator, Ofgem.

The scheme allows the three GB electricity transmission owners to apply for funding to mitigate the impact of historic electricity infrastructure in national parks and National Scenic Areas.

SSEN Transmission’s Project Manager, Johannes Smit said: "The first tower coming down is a major milestone, this is what we have all been working towards since the project began.

“Bringing down the towers is not as straight forward as it might seem, although the actual ‘toppling’ of the tower is over in a matter of seconds, days of preparation are required before each one comes down.

"A full risk assessment is carried out before we even leave the site office.

"We check on the day’s weather as varying wind speeds can have an impact on whether or not the activity can go ahead, and once we’re on site everyone is briefed again so that they know exactly what they are going to be doing.

"We have worked really closely with the community throughout the development of the project and throughout construction.

"We are very pleased that after months of laying cable, everyone will now get to what the project is really all about and will see the towers come down one by one over the next three months."

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