PRIME Suspect star Dame Helen Mirren has pledged her support to campaigners fighting plans for a controversial sewage works.
Scottish Water won permission for the £11 million development at Ardersier, Inverness-shire, in 2011, but a fresh campaign has been launched to block the plan, which residents claim will lead to heavy traffic flowing through their village, limit access to their “beautiful” beach, threaten protected species such as badgers, birds and dolphins, and put off tourists with a persistent smell.
They add that if the structure is breached in a storm, the resulting pollution could be so bad that the Moray Firth never recovers.
Mirren, 70, married her husband Taylor Hackford at Ardersier Parish Church on Hogmanay in 1997, staying with friends at nearby Castle Stuart at the time.
A petition protesting at the plans on Change.org has attracted over 1,000 signatures, and the villagers have now contacted the Oscar-winner star to recruit her to their campaign.
Isla O’Reilly, one of the residents behind the protest, said: “She responded pretty quickly to my e-mail, through her publicist, to say that she had read the message and was appalled and would sign the petition.
“She said that she was more than happy to be associated with the campaign and supports us fully.”
The project involves the upgrade of the existing wastewater treatment works at Ardersier, a replacement outflow from the plant to the Moray Firth, and a new main sewer in the area east of Inverness. Scottish Water says the work is essential to support plans to create a new town at Tornagrain and other developments.
READ MORE: Interview: Helen Mirren, actress (from 2011)