The organisor of a petition signed by over 4400 people from 44 different countries has sent a final plea to Alex Salmond, asking him to receive the document at the SNP Conference in Inverness on Saturday as campaigners express disbelief at the First Minister’s “disdainful attitude” to popular concerns about unlimited windfarm development.
Harley Keish of the American internet radio station Wind Wise Radio drafted the petition which is addressed to the First Minister and Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Mr Keish eventually received an email from the First Minister’s office yesterday after numerous attempts to invite him to accept the petition. Instead of himself or Mr Ewing agreeing to take the petition, Mr Salmond suggested junior Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse meet a delegation of petitioners.
In his response, Mr Keish says he continues to hope the First Minister “could spare three or four minutes to spend on the steps of Eden Court so that all the people who have signed and made their views known were able to see that he had actually received the document and to meet with Mrs. Weir.” Rhona Weir, the 94-year old widow of Tom weir and herself an eminent campaigner for the protection of Scotland’s wild landscapes, is heading the group wanting to present the petition.
Mr Keish points out that Mr Wheelhouse would not be a suitable recipient because while he “has within his ministerial portfolio some rural and environmental issues it does not reach to the many issues of tourism and energy policy that are of concern”. Many of those who signed and penned personal comments on the petition expressed concern about the impacts on tourism.
According to Mr Keish, “many comment that they are not coming to Scotland to view wind turbines, some relate that they own tourism businesses that have already been adversely impacted and others live within wind farms in their own countries and write in solidarity hoping that others will learn from their negative experiences.”
The handing over of the petition marks the highpoint of protest against Government wind policy, co-organised by Stop Highland Windfarms Campaign (SHWC) and Scotland Against Spin (SAS), which is expected to attract hundreds of campaigners from across Scotland.
Linda Holt, spokesperson for Scotland Against Spin, said “Thousands of people who love Scotland have signed this petition, and hundreds are braving the weather to travel to Inverness in person, but the First Minister cannot be bothered to take a few minutes to step out of the conference hall and receive this petition from Scotland’s first lady of the environment. How can Mr Salmond think it’s ok to treat thousands of folk who are sincerely and legitimately concerned about the damage unlimited windfarm development is doing to Scotland with such disdain?”
For further information, interviews etc please contact Linda Holt, SAS media co-ordinator on 01333 70378 or 07590 994690