ASH undertook an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme at Loch Lochy

ASH was commissioned by SSE Renewables to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and produce and Environmental Statement (ES) for two new 600 Megawatt Pumped Storage schemes at Loch Lochy and Loch Ness, within the Great Glen. The two schemes, Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme and Balmacaan Pumped Storage Scheme, were progressed in parallel with ASH project managing the production of the ES, and providing specialist landscape and visual, land use and recreation inputs. ASH also coordinated inputs from specialist sub-consultants including architects, road engineers, ecologists, archaeologists and noise consultants.

The schemes would enable water to be pumped from a lower reservoir, to a new upper reservoir during periods of low electricity demand where it would be stored and utilised to generate electricity at times when demand requires.  The projects would serve to compliment the proposed significant increase in non-flexible energy generation due largely to the development of renewable energy.

Key Tasks

Screening and Scoping

EIA coordination and project management

Landscape and visual impact assessment

Landscape mitigation

Landscape design

Stakeholder consultation

Public consultation


What we did

Early familiarisation with the key aspects of a pumped storage scheme in conjunction with specialist engineers MWH and SSE Renewables proved extremely useful to ASH as EIA co-ordinators and landscape architects.  ASH worked closely with MWH and SSE Renewables throughout the early design development and EIA stages of the scheme. The project team undertook a series of site visits to existing pumped storage plants in the UK including, visits to Foyers (Highlands), Cruachan (Argyll) and Dinorwig (North Wales).  These visits helped inform the EIA process, particularly when discussing the project with stakeholders and the community and also enabled ASH as landscape architects to inform the design of the above ground elements of the scheme, with careful consideration of siting, design and finishes.

The planning application for the Coire Glas scheme was submitted in February 2012. Consent was granted by the Scottish Ministers in December 2013.  SSE has decided not to progress the Balmacaan scheme further at this time.

Coire Glas would potentially be the first pumped storage scheme built in the UK since 1984.


Find out more

We’re always happy to answer your questions. If you’d like to find out more about the services we can offer for your project, you can email us on or call 0141 227 3388.