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Preferred line route announced

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Scottish and Southern Energy has announced its preferred route for a 400kV electricity transmission line, which must be built between the Highlands and the Central Belt of Scotland if the company is to meet government targets.

SSE says construction of the line and substations will cost around £200m. It hopes to begin work on the route in the first half of 2005, with the line operational by late 2007.

The 220km line will stretch from Beauly to Denny and will replace a 132kV line, which will be dismantled. Some 75% of the new line will run along the same route as the old one.

The chief executive of SSE, Ian Marchant, said: “The existing line was originally built to serve a very rural area with very low demand for electricity. It was not designed to cope with the large number of requests for connections to the electricity network that we are currently receiving from renewable energy developers.

“It is, therefore, vital that the wide support that exists for developing renewables in Scotland translates into a commitment to enabling this nationally-important infrastructure project to become a reality as soon as possible.”

The route decision was reached after a 15-month study, in which SSE met with local authorities, statutory and non-statutory bodies and other interested parties. The company will enter another round of consultation on the proposed route and hopes to submit to the Scottish Executive in the third quarter of this year an application for consent to build the line.

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