Scottish pylon protest groups join condemnation of Starmer comments


FIVE community campaign groups protesting against the Kintore to Tealing pylon line have joined UK-wide condemnation of recent comments by Sir Keir Starmer.

Leylodge against Industrialisation, Deeside against Pylons Action Group, Save Our Mearns, Angus Pylon Action Group and Stop Tealing Industrialisation Group have signed an open letter following comments made by Starmer during a recent BBC Panorama programme when he said that he would not listen to people worried about pylons being built close to their homes.

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The open letter – written by the Community Planning Alliance after Starmer’s comments supporting the pushing through of developments in the face of objections from local communities – calls on him to apologise to residents and condemns his “staggering lack of respect for his electorate and for communities”.

The letter has so far been signed by 74 groups across the country, 26 of which are pylon protest groups from Better Cable Route (Strathpeffer and Contin) in the north down to Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons in the south-east.

Save Our Mearns Co-founder Kate Matthews said: “We are asking Sir Keir Starmer to reconsider his dismissive attitude towards our legitimate and genuine concerns about the costs of net zero to our communities.

“The renewables gold rush sanctioned by the Scottish Government will have a devastating impact on our communities and the promised jobs and benefits just don’t stack up.

“There can never be a ‘just transition’ when so many communities are paying such a heavy price.”

The five groups are working together to oppose SSEN proposals for a 400kV overhead line of pylons stretching 66 miles from Kintore in Aberdeenshire to just outside Dundee, by demonstrating the long-term impact on the natural environment and their lives.

The groups fear irreparable harm to residents’ lives and livelihoods if the plans go ahead and they have serious concerns about the impact on farming, ecology and local tourism. Locals argue that if SSEN plans proceed, it will open the floodgates for the mass industrialisation of Angus and Aberdeenshire.

Tracey Smith of Save Our Mearns said: “When will Starmer visit our communities to hear our concerns and justify his bullish attitude to local residents?

“We are very aware that energy is a political matter and so we’ve organised a General Election hustings devoted to the hot topic of energy generation and transmission in the Mearns, which will take place in the Mearns Community Campus in Laurencekirk at 7:30pm on Monday 24 June. It will be an ideal chance for members of the public with an interest in the subject to come along and ask their own questions.”

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