An Argyll village is gearing up to challenge controversial plans for a new line of pylons putting a rural landscape “under threat”.

Dalmally already has 29 of the electricity structures running through the centre of the village and campaigners have spent seven years fighting proposals which would see 48 more.

 Scottish and Southern Energy Network (SSEN) wants to build more than 13 kilometres of overhead power lines and 48 pylons, with some equivalent to the size of a Glasgow tower block, from Cladich to Dalmally.

The pylons will vary in size between 50 metres and 60 metres depending on the area.

The Herald: Construction of a new pylon line could impact negatively on scenery and heritage in northern

Supported by a formal objection from Argyll and Bute Council, No More Pylons (Dalmally) is now preparing for a local public inquiry which will kick off in mid-June.

Professor Kenneth Black, of Dalmally Community Company, claimed the energy giant has “refused to listen” despite residents making their “views known since 2016”.

He added: “Thanks to Argyll and Bute Council objecting to the section 37 planning application, we now have an opportunity to see proper scrutiny of SSEN's plans at a public local inquiry."

The inquiry was triggered by the local authority objection and will be held from June 19. The final decision will be taken by a Scottish Government-appointed reporter.

The upcoming date means No More Pylons is also in a final push to fundraise for a team of professional advisors to help them take on the ‘David versus Goliath’ battle.

More than £6,000 has so far been raised of their £20,000 target on a GoFundMe page.

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The Herald:

One local business owner, Ewan Diven, said the livelihood of firm owners could be at stake.

He said: “The PLI is a crucial step in this long-running campaign, and raising funds to support our battle is imperative to ensuring that we have a fighting chance.

“We have proposed viable alternative options, but these have not been listened to, and after years of campaigning we have finally been taken seriously.

“However, we need support - far and wide - from everyone who is impacted or feels compelled by this.

“The livelihood of us local business owners, who rely on this picturesque rural landscape, is under threat and we simply cannot afford to be blighted by yet another 48 pylons in an area already deeply engulfed by infrastructure."

As well as funds, the group is also readying itself for the inquiry by encouraging locals to “show a united force against the proposals” by showing up to the hearings.

Written witness statements will be heard at the hearings starting on June 19 and there is a particular push for a good turnout to support the community’s local witnesses on June 22.

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The group fear the line would impact local historical, recreational and cultural sites as well as destroy sections of ancient woodland.

They also say the work could alter the view of the historic Kilchurn Castle and surrounding Munros, which they claim is “already blighted” by existing electricity lines by Loch Awe.

The area is also home to a monument to 18th-century Gaelic poet Duncan Ban MacIntyre.

SSEN is looking to build the electricity line to transport surplus renewable energy to the rest of Scotland and other parts of the UK.

The Dalmally campaign group has said it supports the development of renewable energy but not at the cost of “the future sustainability” of communities dependent on their landscape.

No More Pylons member Sue Rawcliffe said: “Dalmally and its surrounding area already supports significant electricity generation and transmission infrastructure.

“If this line of pylons goes ahead, we will face the effective industrialisation of our rural landscape. Who will want to live or visit here once that happens?”

They insist there are alternative routes for the energy giant to take but they feel SSEN have dismissed them due cost.

Another resident, Stephen Bathgate, added: “SSEN say they are committed to ‘working with communities’, but instead of helping to find a solution that limits the impact, all we’ve heard to date is discussion around saving money and putting ‘pylons over people’ – the very people who will be left to live with the consequences.”

The Argyll village is not the only rural community trying to put an end to a new line of pylons.

SSEN is also proposing a network of pylons running for around 160 kilometres between Spittal in Caithness, in the far north of Scotland, to Beauly near Inverness.

Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone, who represents Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, wrote to First Minister Humza Yousaf and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to highlight the “great concern” over the line in April.

A spokesperson for SSEN Transmission said: “Following the decision by Argyll and Bute Council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee’s decision to object to our Section 37 application for the Creag Dhubh-Dalmally overhead line, we welcome the opportunity to respond to the objections to the application and to address the concerns raised by the Committee, the community interest group No More Pylons and other stakeholders.

“The development of the Creag Dhubh-Dalmally overhead line project followed extensive community and stakeholder consultation which led to significant design changes following local feedback. Whilst we acknowledge there will inevitably be an impact from the development of any new infrastructure, we believe our proposed solution strikes a fair balance between responding to community and stakeholder feedback whilst taking account of key economic, environmental and technical factors we have to consider. This includes minimising landscape and visual impacts where possible; protecting the local environment and avoiding national designations in the area; and minimising costs to the GB consumer, who will ultimately pay for this critical national infrastructure through their electricity bills.

“We also remain committed to work constructively with all stakeholders to minimise the impact of this Public Local Inquiry on new renewable generation connections across Argyll and Kintyre, which are key to help enable the country’s transition to net zero emissions and support our future energy security.

“As the Public Local Inquiry is now underway, we will not be commenting further until its conclusion.”