Anti-windfarm campaigners from across the Highlands hope to blow up a storm when they hold a protest this weekend in Inverness – to coincide with the SNP’s Spring Conference.
Stop Highland Windfarms Campaign (SHWC), the umbrella organisation for local groups and individuals opposed to wind farm developments in Highland, will hold a march and demonstration on Saturday.
Demonstrators will gather at Inverness Castle from noon before marching to Eden Court Theatre, where the SNP conference takes place.
A coffin symbolising a ‘Wake for our Wild Land’ will be carried to Eden Court at the head of the marchers.
Although the demo is described as being a family-friendly peaceful protest, organisers have urged participants to make noise during First Minister Alex Salmond’s keynote speech at 3pm and invited them to take with them whistles, loud hailers, drums, pipes, saucepans and loud voices.
SHWC has organised the event with Scotland Against Spin (SAS), a Scotland-wide alliance fighting the rise in wind farms.
SHWC convener Pat Wells said: “Across Scotland, the David and Goliath struggle continues and intensifies against multi-national developers and wealthy landowners who care nothing for Scotland’s 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.
“Scotland’s 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 per cent of wind farm applications submitted for the government’s final determination have been approved in the full knowledge that more wind farms mean higher electricity bills for domestic consumers and industry.
“Wind farm developments are also affecting tourism despite Fergus Ewing’s 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 per cent of workforce employment.
“However, the views of tourists are disregarded at the industry’s 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.”
She explained 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.
Pat added: “SHWC looks forward to welcoming people from across Scotland on Saturday. I hope there will be a really good turn-out from the Highlands.”
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