Storm brews over wind farm protest

A FURIOUS row has broken out in Galloway over a protest against wind turbines that took place at the SNP’s recent annual conference in Perth.

Now threats of legal action are being made as those involved from this area become entrenched in their opposition to each other.

The dispute follows publication in The Galloway Gazette on October 26 of a letter from Andrew Shiells, of Barrachan Home Farm, Newton Stewart, in which he complained that a group of peaceful protesters from Galloway and elsewhere were abused by SNP conference delegates in Perth as they lobbied against turbines in this region.

That letter drew, in turn, a response from Andrew Wilson, of Bank Street, Wigtown, in which he accused protesters of being “arrogant, rude, aggressive” and who “would intimidate all but the bravest”.

Mr Shiells, his wife Dr Angela Armstrong and others involved at the demonstration in Perth were incensed by the comments and have accused Mr Wilson of defamation. They insist that the protest was entirely peaceful, light-hearted and involved people ranging in age from children to a 92-year-old lady.

Mr Wilson, in his turn, objected so strongly to points made to him in an email from Dr Armstrong that he contacted the police. The police confirmed they received a complaint but said the issue was not a police matter and advised both sides that no action would be taken.

However, Mr Wilson told the Gazette that he was concerned that he had been emailed at home. “I feel quite worried and quite intimidated,” he said. “I was contacted by two protesters who were rather threatening, and one said I would be hearing from her lawyer. I feel these people are trying to bully me.

“It is aggressive to contact people in their own home. If you see a letter you don’t agree with, the normal action is to write back to the newspaper, not to contact people at home.”

Dr Armstrong confirmed she had emailed Mr Wilson to express her concerns about what she considered to be his defamatory comments about events in Perth, at which Mr Wilson was not present.

Mr Wilson also voiced further concern that wind turbine protesters may try to disrupt next week’s meeting of Wigtown Community Council, which takes place on Monday, November 12, in the County Buildings at 7.30pm.

Letters page 14