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Stop Highland Windfarms Campaign (SHWC), the umbrella organisation for local groups and individuals opposed to wind farm developments in Highland, will host a march and demonstration on Saturday 23 March to coincide with the SNPs Spring Conference.
SHWC has organised the event in association with Scotland Against Spin (SAS), a Scotland-wide alliance fighting the proliferation of wind farms.
SHWC Convener, Pat Wells says
Across Scotland, the David and Goliath struggle continues and intensifies against multi-national developers and wealthy landowners who care nothing for Scotlands people or its unique natural heritage. Their sole purpose is to swell their bank accounts, often located in overseas tax havens, with as much money as possible, regardless of the consequences.
Scotlands energy policy is shambolic and the planning policy for wind farm development far from democratic. Decisions made by locally elected representatives on behalf of their communities are routinely disregarded by SNP ministers. Over 80% of wind farm applications submitted for the governments final determination have been approved in the full knowledge that more wind farms mean higher electricity bills for domestic consumers and industry. Despite Alex Salmonds pledge in 2005 to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland by 2016, it is increasing at an alarming rate, with more than 40% of households now in the fuel poverty category.
Wind farm developments are also affecting tourism despite Fergus Ewings assertion that tourism and renewables can thrive together. Tourism is one of the mainstays of the Highland economy. The majority of people come to enjoy the unique scenery and its wildlife. Last week VisitScotland announced that leisure tourism is worth £650m a year to the Highlands (excluding day-trip income) and provides 14% of workforce employment.
However, the views of tourists are disregarded at the industrys peril, as indicated by a petition started in America by regular visitors to Scotland who are dismayed at the reckless industrialisation of our landscape with wind turbines.
The petition has over 4,000 signatures from over 40 countries around the world. It has been produced as a bound copy and its originator, Harley Keisch, has written to Alex Salmond, asking him to receive it at the SNP conference on Saturday. It will be presented by a small delegation including 13-year old Laura who is horrified at the destruction of the countryside and 94-year old Rhona Weir, the widow of Tom Weir, writer, mountaineer and true countryman.
Pat Wells comments
So far, Harley has not had the courtesy of a reply from Alex Salmonds office. We wonder why?
Lyndsey Ward, Highland anti-wind farm campaigner says
This is an opportunity for people from all over Scotland, who are threatened by or already living in the shadow of industrial turbines or the mega pylons required to service them, that are now starting to stride across our beautiful country destroying all in their path, to come together and make very clear to this SNP government, that they have had enough of being ignored and disregarded by those that govern them. The government regularly parrots unverified jobs figures and CO2 savings from trade association Scottish Renewables yet refuses to look at the independent calculations that challenge them. In addition, our councils are struggling under the weight of multiple, often speculative, wind farm and turbine planning applications and our services are being cut relentlessly to cover the costs.
Pat Wells continued
SHWC looks forward to welcoming people from across Scotland on Saturday. I hope there will be a really good turn-out from the Highlands. As happened previously, the coffin symbolising a Wake for our Wild Land will be carried to Eden Court at the head of the marchers. We are gathering at Inverness Castle from 12 noon and marching to Eden Court at 12.30pm. We will speak with delegates and await Alex Salmonds address to conference at 3.00pm.
We hope that anyone concerned about any or all of the impacts associated with wind farm development will come and join us and make their voice heard. Politicians will have to listen eventually and will have to change their policies and the sooner the better.
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