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Wilds’ wind blow

An interesting conundrum was posed in your leader article “Three years to save Scottish tourism” (21 November).

At a recent conference on wind farms, the John Muir Trust quoted some dizzying figures: in 2003 some 40 per cent of the Scottish landscape could be considered to suffer no visual impact from human development, a proportion of truly wild land that few Western European countries could boast. Sadly, since then the figure has dropped to a mere 23 per cent. So we’ve lost nearly half of our wild landscape in under a decade. The runaway culprit? Wind farms.

With plans to power Scotland from renewables by whatever date the Scottish Government comes up with and with many, many hundreds of new wind turbine installations either approved or in the planning pipeline (planning which, if refused locally, will be overridden by Holyrood) it cannot be long before we have zero per cent of truly wild, undeveloped landscape to enjoy.

To be fair, visitors come to Scotland to enjoy our history, our culture and many other of our endearing national characteristics but the overwhelming majority come primarily to enjoy our wild landscape because, hitherto, we had more of it than they had.

If we are to attract visitors to a tourist product with a changed face, and not disappoint them in future, we had better not market our wild landscapes because, as the loss over the past eight years would indicate, there just won’t be any to see.

Dave Rice