‘Critical’ pylon project must continue despite coronavirus

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The main contractor on a major pylon upgrade project found itself at the centre of an online furore as workers continued to travel between work and home during the corovavirus lockdown.

A number of people posted on Facebook to criticise Balfour Beatty workers’ actions, with many personnel said to be travelling home to other parts of Scotland and the north of England before returning to work in Mid Argyll at the beginning of the week.

Councillor Dougie Philand described the situation as ‘unbelieveable’ but the power company behind the project has defended the contractor, stressing the work continues to operate in line with current government guidance.

Balfour Beattie is employed by SSEN Transmission on the Inveraray-Crossaig line upgrade project. A spokesperson for SSEN Transmission said: ‘In line with latest guidance from the UK and Scottish governments, work in the area is continuing because they are part of an urgent, critical programme to rebuild the line to ensure the continued safe and reliable supply of electricity in the region.

‘Any postponement or temporary suspension of this work could severely impact the electricity network’s ability to serve the area in the medium term.’

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson added: ‘The health, safety and well-being of all those who work with and for us, as well as the general public, is always our priority.

‘We recognise the situation is evolving and we will continue to shape our approach and keep our employees updated, whether working on our sites and contracts or at home. Our crisis management team meets daily to understand the evolving situation and to enable Balfour Beatty to respond swiftly to any changes.’