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Protesters clash at SNP gathering

Windfarm protesters clashed with SNP delegates during a demonstration at the party’s Inverness conference at the weekend.

A group of about 40 campaigners from all over Scotland gathered with placards at the entrance to Eden Court Theatre, where the SNP’s annual event was held.

The protesters handed out leaflets to delegates at the event. Posters were also put up along Ness Walk. They were joined later by a group from Invergordon protesting against plans for an incinerator near the town.

During the event some SNP delegates engaged in heated discussions with protesters over the merits of wind energy. They included Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson, who spent around 15 minutes talking to the protestors.

One woman told Mr Gibson that her home could be surrounded by three windfarms if planning applications get the go ahead. She also tried to get the MSP to visit her home to hear the noise made by the turbines.

After speaking to the group, Mr Gibson told the Press and Journal that his party felt there was a need for a “broad palette” of renewable energy in Scotland, including onshore windfarms.

Later, two of the leaders of the anti-windfarm movement in the Highlands met Minister Fergus Energy Ewing.

Stuart Young, of the Caithness Windfarm Information Group, and Lyndsey Ward, of the Windfarm Action Group, spent more than half an hour putting their points to the minister, who is MSP for Inverness and Nairn.

They raised issues about the variability of wind, the cost to the consumer and the rising number of developers asking for extensions soon after winning planning permission.

Ms Ward said that she was encouraged by the meeting and said that Mr Ewing had agreed to meet them again.

Mr Ewing said yesterday that he found it a useful meeting.

He said he felt it was important to meet with the protesters and listen to their points.