Winter Preparedness in Enchanted Perthshire

It was a great privilege for me to be asked to formally open the 10th Anniversary show of the Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event and Scotland’s premier sound and light show at Forestry Commission Scotland’s Faskally Wood near Pitlochry.

The event celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year and it is hoping to beat all previous box office records, attracting almost 30,000 visitors in 2012. This is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s finest events. Not only does it provide an essential boost for the local economy, it opens up the beauty of this area’s stunning scenery to literally thousands of people, and showcases it in a brand new light. I can’t think of a better way to cheer up these October evenings than a trip to The Enchanted Forest.

The number of visitors that The Enchanted Forest draws into Perthshire at a time that might otherwise be pretty quiet in terms of tourists is simply magical.  I hope that those who come initially just for the show might be tempted to return after seeing just how beautiful Perthshire in autumn can be.

The 2012 show “FLOW” has been designed by a creative team led by Derek Allan which includes Scottish designers Simon Wilkinson (lighting) and RJ McConnell (sound), as well as Dundee based visual artists Dalziel + Scullion, whose work is supported thanks to the generosity of a grant from Creative Scotland in celebration of Year of Creative Scotland 2012. Together they have created a dazzling and engaging show which not only celebrates 10 Years of The Enchanted Forest, but is in itself a celebration of the stunning woodland setting in which the event is set. For further information about the Enchanted Forest, visit the Enchanted Forest website at http://www.enchantedforest.org.uk 

Along with Councillor Mike Williamson, who represents Highland Ward on Perth & Kinross Council, I recently met with representatives of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the issue of the disruption to electricity supplies in Highland Perthshire, following adverse winter weather.

Readers will be aware that last year saw a disruption to supply and confusion over the compensation offered to residents.  Mike and I were keen to hear about SSE’s plans for the coming winter to ensure that similar difficulties do not arise.  We met with Roddy Grubb and Alan Broadbent.

Last winter saw five exceptional events within four weeks, with high winds and large rainfall.  I asked what caused the long term issues last year.  I was told that operatives need to make sites secure before they can resolve issues and this can involve removing trees to gain access to areas.  This can be difficult in severe weather.  Also when wet snow lies on powerlines, it can be the equivalent of trying to hang a mini car on the line!

We were informed that SSE has now put clear compensation arrangements in place and they are to be proactive about getting their message across.  They have Facebook and Twitter feeds that are manned by a dedicated team.  They will also be giving details to SSE stores to get information to as many outlets as possible.  It is clear that SSE has learned lessons from previous winters and has contingency plans in place.  I hope that the winter is not as harsh this year and that the contingency plans do not require to be enacted.

I can be contacted at my office in Blairgowrie at 35 Perth Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6DL, you can call me on 01250 876 576 or email me at wishartp@ parliament.uk

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