Licences requested for North Isles subsea cable work

PLANS to replace ageing subsea electricity cables linking Unst and Yell with the Shetland mainland have moved forward after Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) submitted marine licence applications to carry out the work.

The proposed new cables – one from Mossbank to Yell and two between Yell and Unst – would replace existing ones installed back in the 1980s.


The work would see the 33kV cables laid across the surface of the seabed, with rock filter bags or concrete mattresses placed on the cable at around 50m intervals.

There would also be underground cabling at existing shore ends, where the new cables would join the existing overhead lines.

SSEN said the new cable will allow the dismantling of some sections of the existing overhead line in Unst.

It will aim to schedule the work at a time where there would be minimal disruption to marine life.

Lead engagement and submarine policy manager Kirstine Wood said: “We are committed to doing all we can to provide our customers with a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity, and this proposed work is an essential part of our commitment.

“These cable replacements are essential for securing the power supplies to the islands of Yell and Unst and will also support the security of supply to the neighbouring islands”.

Details of the proposal can be viewed here.