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Blimp to be flown in Perth and protest against SNP wind policy

Blimp-portunity knocks!

It’s BLIMP AHOY! for organisers of Scotland’s biggest-ever anti-wind protest as a local group is given permission to fly a blimp in central Perth.

Weather permitting, the blimp will be launched from the North Inch on Saturday October 20th directly behind Perth Concert Hall where the First Minister will be giving his keynote speech at the SNP’s autumn conference.

Members at Wednesday’s meeting of Perth’s Common Good Committee were unanimous in their decision permitting the Gask and Strathearn Protection Society (GASPS) to fly the blimp. GASPS is fighting a proposal by Stroud company Ecotricty for four 125 m turbines near Tibbermore a few miles west of Perth.

Campaigners from across Scotland who are organizing a national protest against SNP wind policy in Perth on the same day commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to get an idea of how high turbines really are, and how their visual impact stretches over a huge area. Too often people, including decision-makers, fail to realize the true scale of turbines until they are erected, by which time it is too late.

“When a blimp has been flown at proposed wind farm sites, it has often come as a huge shock because developers’ photomontages invariably play down the height of their proposed turbines. Blimps help people to realize that turbines which developers say would be ‘hardly visible’ or ‘just the tips of blades would be seen from their property’ would in fact tower above them, dominating every aspect of their lives at home and in their community.

“Developers often refuse to allow campaign groups to fly a blimp and it can often seem like an unnecessary expense for small groups. We hope the Perth blimp will encourage windfarm objectors across Scotland to consider flying their own blimps as an invaluable tool for raising public awareness.

“Being in the centre of Perth, the GASPS blimp will be seen by thousands of people. If the Scottish Government gets its way, few people in Scotland will be able to avoid seeing these monsters on the skyline where they live, work or travel.

“We’re writing to every MSP, Scottish MEP and MP plus Councillors from all over Scotland to invite them to Perth to view the blimp. Turbine heights of 125m to 150 m – up to 500 feet – are now the industry standard and no one can imagine this without a guide. Too many politicians don’t understand the devastating impact wind farms are having on ordinary people every day and the environment they live in and cherish.

Politicians are responsible for the decisions to place these factories in the midst of communities – often too close to homes. If our elected representatives have reservations about current government wind policy, we hope they will show they also want change and will join the demonstrators.

It is vital that any political party or individual member concerned with turbine proliferation, and the fictions promoting it, turn up, support this protest, and be counted. Their support will encourage support for them in the ballot booths.

Our powerful message to the government is that if it cannot be trusted to care for the Scottish environment, and protet Scottish people in rural communities from predatory wind farm developers then it cannot be trusted with independence.

GASPS Chair Brian Simpson commented: “We’re very grateful for the Council’s go-ahead for what is an important public information exercise. People just do not realise the true scale and impact of 125m-high turbines until they are erected by which time of course it’s too late in the day to engage in the planning process or to do anything about them.

“Wind farm developer Ecotricity want to put four of these huge industrial structures between Tibbermore and Methven where they will dominate the landscape and the people living in it and be seen for miles around. Flying a blimp the height of the turbines will give the people of Perth and the Strathearn Valley an idea of what is in store for them if Ecotricity gets the go-ahead.”

Groups fighting local turbine developments from the Shetlands to the Borders as well as individuals and other organisations who object to SNP wind policy will be coming to Perth for what is expected to be Scotland’s largest-ever popular protest against wind.

The organisors are stressing that it is a family-friendly fun event, with children encouraged to come along in the guise of animals on land and sea threatened by wind turbines. There will be prizes for the best painted faces, masks and costumes. Further details may be found on facebook at Protest Against SNP Wind Policy or at http://www.gasps.info