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Next steps for SSEN Transmission’s first community benefit fund for the north-east

By David Porter

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Earlier this year, SSEN Transmission launched a consultation to seek views on plans for its first ever community benefit scheme, which will see the company working with communities across the north and north-east of Scotland to channel funds into vital local projects.

The north of Scotland transmission network is set to provide over 15 per cent of the UK’s total carbon reduction required to deliver 2050 net zero targets, and SSEN Transmission believes new funds should recognise the vital role that local communities in the area will play in hosting the transmission infrastructure that is required to help to make net zero a reality.

A general map of SSEN's transmission plans
A general map of SSEN's transmission plans

The six-week long consultation with various stakeholders encouraged participants to share their views on the initial planning for development of the fund.

The consultation concluded with the company receiving around 140 responses from local residents, authorities and other interested parties.

And the company has now published a detailed report that shows strong support for the fund proposals, with over 70 per cent of those who responded indicating their support for the initiative.

Speaking as the report on the fund consultation was launched, SSEN Transmission’s Director of Customers and Stakeholders, Christianna Logan, said: “We’re delighted with the response we received from local communities during our six-week consultation on our first community benefit fund in the north of Scotland.

“It’s really important that we recognise the vital role that communities play by hosting critical national infrastructure, and getting this fund up-and-running will be a big step in doing just that.

“The initial £10m will have a lasting positive economic impact in the region and we’re excited to be working with communities and other stakeholders to make sure that investment decisions are made wisely.”

Feedback received from the consultation has provided valuable insight and represents a wide range of views reflective of the diverse communities of the north of Scotland.

SSEN Transmission will now further refine its Community Benefit Fund plans and, where invited to do so in the responses, will follow up with individual organisations to gather further insight ahead of the UK Government’s recommendations and guidance from their recent consultation, Community Benefits for Electricity Transmission Network Infrastructure, being published later this year.

After that, the company expects to formally launch its first ever Community Benefit Fund in 2024.

Once it’s up-and-running, the fund will enable over £10m to be spent on delivering a sustainable and positive legacy for the communities that are hosting large net zero infrastructure assets in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, Shetland, Angus and Argyll.

Projects receiving funding will include - East Coast 400kv upgrade (Kintore); Port Ann to Crossaig; Fort Augustus to Invergarry; Shetland Link; Skye LOTI; Orkney LOTI; Argyll LOTI; EGL2 (SSEN Transmission share Peterhead to Drax)

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