News Feature | June 6, 2016

Helen Mirren Wades Into Water Industry

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren is not afraid to take a stand on sewage.

She has backed “a last ditch campaign to block a controversial sewage plant in the Highland village where she got married,” The Daily Telegraph reported.

She told the campaign she was “appalled” by the project, a proposed treatment facility in a quiet fishing town. Opponents say it could repel tourists and introduce a foul odor.

“Dame Helen has a personal connection to the village after marrying her husband, Taylor Hackford at Ardersier Parish Church on New Year's Eve in 1997,” The Telegraph reported.

Mirren put out a statement opposing the plant, per BBC News.

"It is with absolute horror that I heard about the proposed sewage plant at Ardersier. This is a small and authentic community, rooted in the landscape and the sea. The people of Ardersier have lived there for generations, quietly getting on with their lives, working within the environment,” she said.

"Ardersier is not one of the famed beauty spots of Scotland; if it were, there would rightly be a huge outcry against this plan. However, Ardersier is as important to the history and beauty of Scotland as Loch Lomond or Fort William or any of the great tourist attractions, because Ardersier is quietly where the real Scotland is," she continued.

Scottish Water's Simon Parsons said the utility plans to listen to the community before moving forward. Scottish Water has plans to invest over £11m (over $15 million) in infrastructure projects including this waste facility, according to BBC News.

"We are required to carry out some upgrades to protect and enhance the environment of the Moray Firth, particularly for the benefits of dolphins in the water. There is also expected to be significant housing and economic growth in the area served by the facility in the years ahead," Parsons said.

He said development in the area has required Scottish Water to consider updating its wastewater infrastructure.