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The women who fought for Blackdog tell their story winning planning battle

The women who fought for Blackdog tell their story winning planning battle

Nicola Brown and Edna Booth were never confident that they would succeed in halting the creation of two substations in their native Blackdog.

Even when they walked into yesterday's meeting of the Formartine Area Committee, their hearts were in their mouths and they wondered whether the elected representatives would end up voting for the stations, which would form a pivotal part of the controversial European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre.

Yet, as the arguments were heard on both sides, prior to the decision finally being taken to reject the application, Brown admitted it was one of the sweetest moments of her life.

She said: "I heard about the wind turbine plans a long time ago and I remember thinking: "Blackdog has suffered enough. We get all sorts of stuff dumped on us.

"In the past, other campaigners had attempted to stand up and protest. But, in the end, they usually had to give way to the big companies, who dumped their rubbish next to our community. It was as if because we only had 80-odd houses, that they could act as they please. But we decided that we would do everything we possibly could to fight against these substations.

"It wasn't about being awkward, but about doing what was best for the village. And we couldn't have managed to make as many folk listen without Edna."

The latter is now in her ninth decade, but you would never guess it to listen to her sharply-tuned observations and shafts of sound common sense.

  (STV)
via STV via STV

“Our village is already surrounded by 19 landfills, one of which is the second most contaminated parcels of land in all of Scotland,” says Edna Booth, with a firm click of her jaw.

“Why has this small beach town been targeted as an industrial dead zone? We don’t want to live 400 feet from a substation, to convert greenery into a cement block that will take months of aggravation to build. I don’t think this is too much to ask.”

Brown and Booth arrived at the vital meeting, determined to ensure the Formartine authorities would have all the relevant facts at their fingers. Meticulous, resilient and possessed of a stakhanovite spirit to their mission, they none the less had to be patient.

As Brown said: " We were nervous, right up until the vote, because we wondered whether the councillors wouldn't simply choose to ignore us and focus on pushing ahead with the EOWDC.

"But, to be fair to them, this was a victory for democracy, and both sides stated their cases in a measured fashion. I walked in there, thinking we would probably lose. But they took the right course of action and that was reassuring. It proved that, if you battle for what you believe in, you can change minds."

Both women realise that the EOWDC authorities might still launch an appeal. But if they do, one suspects there will be no let-up from these redoubtable customers.

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