SSEN helps restore natural beauty at Glen Muick

Glen Muick, in the Cairngorms National Park, has seen over 4.5km of overhead electricity lines and wooden poles replaced with underground cables by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN Distribution).

This work is part of a £15m investment programme by SSEN to underground 90km of overhead distribution lines in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and National Scenic Areas in the north of Scotland and central southern England.

With Glen Muick being located in the Cairngorms National Park, and the popular tourist towns of Ballater and Braemar nearby, a key part of the AONB initiative was SSEN’s work with members of the local communities and key stakeholders to target the sections of overhead network which would provide the greatest visual improvement to the natural landscape.  

Michael Hilferty, Head of SSEN’s North Caledonia Region, recognises the important role that community input and feedback plays in the AONB scheme:

“Our overhead lines and wooden poles offer a secure and cost-effective way of safely distributing electricity to our customers, but we also appreciate that some people feel they have a detrimental impact on the natural environment in officially designated beauty spots. 

“The public consultation part of the AONB scheme is vital, as it provides local people and visitors to these beauty spots the chance to share their views, which in turn helps us make sure we’re investing in the right places where we know it will make a real difference.”

Glyn Jones, who is a ranger at Balmoral Castle, nominated the Glen Muick area and explains more about the background to his choice:

“I first heard of the scheme online and was fortunate enough to bump into a couple of SSEN staff in Glen Muick who had a chat with me about it. I nominated Glen Muick as it is a very important place for tourism locally. Over 100,000 people visit Glen Muick every year and now, after they leave the forest, instead of seeing an electrical junction box and row of poles they can enjoy an unobstructed view all the way to the summit of Lochnagar. 

“We were very happy to work in partnership with SSEN on this project and our contractor did a great job of trenching and reinstating the ground. The project has definitely improved the landscape quality and wild character of the upper part of Glen Muick that thousands of people come to see every year and we are delighted with the result!” 

The image on the front page shows an area of Glen Muick before we started work, and the image above shows the wider area after project completion. To see our teams at work removing the first of the 18 wooden poles and hear from our Project Engineer, Mike McDonald, please click on either of the photos.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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