Turbine protest chair goes straight to top

Former First Minister Alec Salmond with Angela Shiells

Former First Minister Alec Salmond with Angela Shiells

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The chair of a local anti-turbine group took her protests right to the top at the SNP Conference last weekend.

Dr Angela Shiells was part of the Scotland Against Spin team who rented a stall at the conference to press home their arguments directly to party leaders.

In the past few years the organisation has held noisy protests outside SNP meetings. This more subtle approach certainly paid dividends, according to Dr Shiells. She has been leading the fight against plans by EDF to erect eighteen 450 foot turbines behind her Barrachan farmhouse for more than two years.

Dr Shiells spoke directly to former First Minister Alex Salmond and told him, face to face, why she could not support the SNP. She also met up with South-West Scotland representatives Dr Aileen Macleod and Chic Brodie. Those were rather more friendly encounters as both MSPs have taken the trouble to visit the Airriequhillart site, which backs onto Dr Shiells’ home.

They were able to assess the potential destruction of the countryside and, in particular, the proximity of the massive turbines to Barrachan Village and other nearby properties. Dr Shiells also spoke to MSP Richard Lochhead, the Rural Affairs Minister. They continued discussions she had with him when he visited Newton Stewart in pursuit of a YES vote.

The SAS team also had words with the new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Alex Salmond told Dr Shiells and the SAS team that, while he “didn’t agree with them, they should keep on campaigning.”

Dr Shiells said: “He needn’t worry about that!”