May 9, 2012

Growing number of windfarms threat to tourism

The Press and Journal, 9 May 2012

Bosses at one of Scotland’s top golf venues have warned that Scottish tourism is under threat from the huge number of windfarms being built across the country.

Gleneagles Hotel chiefs in Perthshire have joined American tycoon Donald Trump in criticising the rate that green energy schemes are being approved.

With the number of turbine schemes expected to treble over the next few years – bosses fear for the “unspoiled landscape” which draws golfers to Scotland.

In a submission to MSPS, hotel chiefs said: “The hotel’s experience of staging many of these events in the past has been the knowledge that TV and other media broadcast can send out immediate images of the surrounding countryside – and many viewers expect to see an unspoiled landscape as this is what they associate with Scotland as one of its cultural qualities.”

The Perthshire resort’s concerns come as a blow to those arguing the case for an 11-turbine farm off the north-east coast, a project that has been vigorously opposed by Mr Trump.

Last month he told the same committee of politicians that windfarms are a waste of public money and will “destroy” Scotland’s thriving tourism industry.

“I would respectfully urge the committee to recognise the seriousness of the situation and to advise the Scottish Government not to destroy Scotland with these horrendous, costly and highly-inefficient industrial turbines,” he said.

Mr Trump has suspended plans for his £250million hotel over the Aberdeen Bay proposals.

Gleneagles bosses warned MSPS: “Windfarm development will result in at least 25 years of changed landscapes. Rapid growth of more windfarms threaten the essence of why (resorts like Gleneagles) are so well-known, and can continue to make a significant contribution to grow the Scottish economy.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We welcome all contributions to the widest possible debate on the development of our clean, green energy resources.”

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