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Making positive contributions to networks and local communities

Katherine Imlay works as a Wayleave Officer within our Utilities team based in our Perth office. Our team works closely with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to assist in essential improvements to their network. 

My role as a wayleave officer is to liaise with landowners throughout projects from securing initial access, to dealing with any reinstatement issues that may have arisen during the course of the work. Together we aim to ensure that projects are delivered safely, on time and on budget by working with land related stakeholders and taking into account seasonal matters, sporting activities and environmental requirements.

Recently I have been involved in securing consent for a stand-alone data collection station as part of an innovative trial project on the Isle of Skye. This equipment will allow remote monitoring of the condition of the overhead line to enable quicker detection of problems and any change due to weather conditions. This aims to improve the reliability of the line and security of supply, limit power outages and will help restore power much more efficiently to SSEN’s customers. Motion detection boxes will be mounted on each pole of the Western Isles 132kV Trident circuit and modern day radio wave technology will be used to send the data from the pole mounted box to the collection station.  

The first step in the land consents process was to determine the landowner and any tenants. The site required for the station was 2 metre x 2 metre surrounded by a stock proof fence, with access from the nearest public road. An online search identified the owner of this land and a phone call determined the land was grazed by local crofters. Access was discussed with the Property Manager and it was determined that this would be written up formally in a licence to occupy, a legal document between the landowner and the utility company. 

The next step was to ensure that the installation would not cause any adverse impact on the surrounding environment. The proposals were discussed with the relevant consultees before the location was approved. The site sits within the Cuillin Special Protection Area and the Cuillin Hills National Scenic Area, an area I have ventured to in my spare time for hill walking. I’m heading to Skye for the weekend and hoping to stop by briefly and see the station on the ground. I find that my role is rewarding as a lot of the projects I’m involved with make positive contributions to networks and local communities’ electricity supplies.