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Wildcat could help campaigners in energy battle

A rare wildcat species inhabiting a Moray forest could help campaigners in their battle against a proposed windfarm development.

A revised application by Amec to build a 13-turbine windfarm at Aultmore Forest, near Drybridge, has been met with strong opposition from residents in the Drybridge and Deskford areas.

They lodged objections with Moray Council this week claiming the development will be detrimental to their water supply and wildlife.

The forest is a habitat of the elusive Scottish wildcat. And, with Oxford University wildlife researchers expressing interest in establishing their numbers, resident Dr Sarah Henderson believes their findings could be the strongest argument in blocking the development.

Dr Henderson, of Cloch-macreich, Deskford, said: “There are only 400 felis sylvestris grampia, or Scottish wildcats, left in the world, and one of the last strongholds for them is Aultmore Forest. The wildcat indigenous to Moray also inhabits the woodland.

“They are very secretive creatures, so are not seen very often. They can’t tolerate noise or human presence and if the windfarm is built they will be forced out. This research could take a long time, so it’s vital that it starts soon and the windfarm application isn’t dealt with at the moment.

“I do think that this study could help us with stopping the windfarm.”

Ailsa Poyner, of Shielmuir Croft, Drybridge, said: “What a lot of people don’t realise is that this is going to affect people in the Buckie area.”

He added: “Our water supply is from a spring and there’s been no guarantee that it isn’t going to be blocked.

“Amec said that if that happened they would get us linked to the mains supply but that will cost us. There’s also a danger of contamination from the concrete.”

The Press and Journal

10 November 2007