Pylon fears for Central Belt

BY BRIONNY LEIPER

Residents of Denny, near Falkirk, have been angered by reports that the Scottish Government is set to approve plans for a £400 billion powerline upgrade which will see 200-feet high pylons erected.

The 140 mile powerline would stretch from Denny to Beauly in Inverness-shire and would consist of around 600 high voltage pylons. The plans were proposed in 2008 by Scottish and Southern Energy who want to upgrade the existing line in order to prepare for when a number of renewable energy sources are connected to it in the near future.

The upgrading of the line will allow for wind and tide farms in the Highlands and Islands to be connected to the National Energy Grid. If the plans to approve the project are approved by the Scottish Government, the line will be able to carry 6GW of power and allow for these renewable energy sources to prove they are worth the investment to Scotland’s economy.

Some supporters of the project, calling themselves the BDU-Friends, say the upgrade: “is crucial for the success of renewable energy projects in the Highlands and Islands area and therefore it is in the interest of the environment and the welfare of humankind that it goes ahead.”

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Image courtesy of http://www.firstscience.com

However, the residents of the towns the new pylons are proposed to run through are concerned.

Denny resident Jay Toner said: “There have been people complaining about the plans. People are thinking it will make Denny look worse.”

But the look of the town and the possible depreciation in the value of homes is not the only apprehension. Others have voiced valid worries that the pylons will cause heath problems. A study in Switzerland between 2000 and 2005 showed that there was a link between the magnetic exposure from high voltage pylons and deaths from neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease. The UK’s Draper Report in 2005 backed up the negative health claims, revealing that young people living within 200 metres of powerlines double their risk of contracting Childhood Leukaemia.