Civil disobedience (Scotland)
Mar 5, 2010
—by Caroline McMorran, The Northern Times 3/4/10
An elderly Golspie resident has vowed she will resort to “civil disobedience” to prevent Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) from transporting turbine parts for the Gordonbush wind farm on the A9 through Golspie and Brora.
Eighty-year-old Valerie Scott, who is disabled and can only walk with the aid of an elbow brace, claims to have the support of at least another 28 activists.
And she warned this week: “We will do whatever it takes.”
Mrs Scott, whose Main Street home borders the trunk road, has been one of the most vociferous opponents against the use of the A9 through the two villages by the power company.
Last year she organised a hard-hitting poster and letter campaign as well as appealing directly to SSE.
The weight of public opinion persuaded SSE to investigate the possibility of using a hill road, accessed off the A9 just south of Golspie, which was built for the Kilbraur wind farm.
Turbine parts will be transported to Invergordon by boat and from there loaded onto lorries for their journey north.
But a fortnight ago the power company announced the alternative route, which involves building an extension to the hill road along with a new bridge across the River Brora, was too costly and would mean too much delay.
SSE’s Major Projects Liaison Manager, Ruth Liddicoat, said: “We’ve reached the conclusion that the Kilbraur route is just not feasible due to the time it will take to deliver and the cost.”
Work on the Gordonbush wind farm is scheduled to start in the Spring.
On the Friday following the announcement, opponents held a public meeting in Fountain Road Church Hall, Golspie.
Meanwhile Brora and Golspie community councillors met with SSE representatives “in secret” on Wednesday night. Members of the Press were not allowed to attend.
Mrs Scott said around 40 people had attended the Fountain Hall meeting which she described as “productive.”
She said: “The outcome of the meeting was that we will do whatever it takes to stop them. It’s a straight case of: ‘No, we are not wearing it.’
“We’ve explored all other avenues and done everything to make them aware of public opinion but it hasn’t done any good.
“I am not a person who normally takes part in any form of civil disobedience. By nature I am very quiet and law abiding but we just cannot have this happening – they are NOT coming through the village and that was the mood of the people at the meeting.”
Mrs Scott, a member of Golspie Community Council, is well known for her persistence and perseverance. Some time ago she waged a four-year fight with Scottish Water to have a new sewage treatment works built at Golspie.
She added: “I have a list of 28 people who are prepared to take action and I have had phone calls from even more people who are willing to come down and join the throng.
“What usually happens is that people sit back and don’t want to be counted until they see that a lot more people are becoming involved and then they will join in.”
She said a great deal of support had come from Caithness residents.
“At long last people in Caithness and Orkney are realising that this is going to affect them badly. They are concerned about the affect it will have on the National Mod, which is being held in Thurso in October.
“Orkney also have a folk festival at the end of May and islanders are worried that the turbine traffic might affect that.”
Mrs Scott was reluctant to reveal exactly what action she had in mind.
“We’ve still got to work it out and I don’t really want to say any more because if you are going to be involved in civil disobedience, then the police are going to be interested and will stop it before it starts,” she said.