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Conference hit by windfarm protest

Protestors were set to urge the SNP to back a ban on further expansion of windfarms.

Organisers were hoping to hold the largest ever protest against turbines in Perth to coincide with the party’s annual conference.

Scheduled on the same day as First Minister Alex Salmond’s address to party members, organisers obtained permission from Perth and Kinross Council to fly a blimp above the conference centre at the same height as some of the large turbines which are being held across Scotland.

They also were due to patrol through the streets of Perth with a cut-out model of a turbine.

It follows comments from Salmond this month that there was “no serious evidence” that windfarms are incompatible with the country’s scenery.

Anti-wind farm campaigner Linda Holt, one of the protest organisers, said she believed the protest would be a “watershed” moment.

“People are very concerned they are not being listened to. Councils in Aberdeenshire, Moray and Fife all asked for moratoriums on windfarms and were told they could not.

“The height of these wind turbines is 140 to 150m and the visual impact goes on for tens of miles.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot more of them actually being built and people are realising the impact on what they have.” The blimp was to be organised by Gask and Strathearn Protection Society (GASPS) which is fighting a proposal by Stroud company, Ecotricty, for four 125m turbines near Tibbermore, a few miles west of Perth.

The Scottish Government has committed to providing the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020 and wants to cut carbon emissions by 42 per cent by the same date.

Meanwhile the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition Scotland, which is made up of groups including WWF Scotland and Oxfam, has organised a mass lobby of the Scottish Parliament on 25 October as it campaigns to ensure the Parliament sticks to its targets to cut climate change.