Protesters across Tayside and Fife marched on the SNP conference in Perth at the weekend to add their voice to opposition to the Scottish Government’s windfarm policy.
Coinciding the mass protest with Alex Salmond’s address to the party faithful on Saturday, the campaigners claimed his stance on the issue could undermine his dream of Scottish independence.
One of the organisers, Linda Holt from Fife, said: “Today proves windfarms are now a political problem which the Government ignores at its peril. Every new windfarm costs the First Minister, the SNP Government and ultimately the independence campaign support.
“Folk here are questioning whether they can trust a leader and a party that oversees what some are calling a second clearance in the name of a white elephant technology which can never deliver what it promises.”
Around 350 people from all over Scotland gathered at the South Inch to march on Perth Concert Hall, with organisers estimating that another 100 people had swollen the ranks by the time they gathered outside the conference venue.
Waving placards, sounding horns and whistles and carrying a replica of a wind turbine, the protesters listened to a series of speeches attacking Government policy on windfarms.
In a dramatic demonstration of the height of the turbines they oppose, a blimp flew at around 125 metres from the North Inch.
Held back from the hall by barriers, police and stewards, the demonstrators gave a noisy welcome to any SNP figures they recognised arriving.
Ms Holt promised that the campaign would gather momentum “until this windfarm madness stops”.
She added: “There are many in the SNP, especially those who represent areas targeted by predatory wind developers, who know the terrible damage central Government windfarm policy is wreaking on local communities and local democracy.
“They have sent us messages of support and some have even marched with us today.”
Organisers later had a private meeting with Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing in the Royal George Hotel, where they put to him their demand for an immediate moratorium on further development until a review of policy has been carried out by an independent panel of engineers and economists.
There was a strong Perthshire presence among the demonstrators, with the protest hosted by the Gask and Strathearn Protection Society, which is fighting a proposal for four turbines.
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