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Gleneagles v the turbines

Gleneagles Hotel has warned that plans to cover Scotland in wind farms could ‘threaten the very essence’ of the country’s tourism industry.

Bosses at the five-star Perthshire golf resort have raised fears about the cumulative effect of erecting hundreds of turbines.

Alex Salmond has promised to make Scotland ‘the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy’ – with wind farms playing a big part in the SNP’S green revolution.

But as more and more are built, there is mounting concern over their visual impact.

The 850-acre Gleneagles Estate is surrounded by a number of wind farm developments and it has flagged up concerns to a Holyrood inquiry into renewable energy.

Its submission warned that ‘the cumulative, and rapid, growth of more wind farms in areas of Scotland threatens the very essence of why these places are so well-regarded and known’. This could threaten the ‘significant contribution’ businesses such as Gleneagles make to Scotland’s economy.

Gleneagles general manager Bernard Murphy said: ‘We accept there are going to be wind farm developments in Scotland – but there has to be a national debate about how far we are prepared to go in relation to the visual impact across our countryside.

‘We need to get to the right point on the spectrum when enough is enough. We’re not proposing where that is – but it is what I hope the committee will address. Our feeling is very much that we take each case on its merits.’

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘We welcome the fact that Gleneagles Hotel is a supporter of renewable energy.

‘Planning authorities only allow wind farms to be built where the impacts have been found to be acceptable. Unsuitable applications are rejected.’

Last month, a Visitscotland poll revealed that almost a fifth of visitors to Scotland say the countryside is being spoiled by wind farms – putting at risk £2 billion of Scotland’s £11 billion annual income from tourism.