ENERGY giant SSE is being forced to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to fix the "Beauly Buzz".

The company was issued with a noise abatement notice in February to tackle a low-frequency humming sound from the Wester Balblair sub-station after new equipment was installed as part of the upgrade of the Beauly-to-Denny powerline.

SSE has now said it will install an acoustic barrier around the devices responsible but cannot carry out the work until October, when the National Grid has agreed part of the sub-station can be switched off.

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­Inverness Sheriff Court has agreed to suspend the company's appeal against the abatement notice pending completion of the work.

Local people remain unconvinced that the buzz, which they claim interrupts their sleep and has hit the value of their homes, is close to being fixed.

"I am not at all confident this will be resolved by the end of the year," said Steve Byford, chairman of Kilmorack Community Council. "We should not be in this position. Due diligence should have been taken by SSE. They should have predicted the noise coming from the sub-station when the equipment was being installed. They should have put up acoustic barriers at the start."

SSE plans to place acoustic jackets around individual components and then install an acoustic barrier around the entire equipment.

"We have learnt lessons from this and we are applying lessons across everything we are doing as a transmission business," said a spokeswoman. "Our priority is to resolve the issue for residents."