Scottish tourism chiefs says wind farms are detrimental

Tourism-sector heads in Scotland have said that the nation’s vast array of wind turbines is detrimental to the promotion of tourism.

The comments come as plans are afoot to build turbines at Minnygap in Dumfriesshire, and they contradict the recent comments made by Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, who said that wind farms ‘enhance our appeal as a country.’

There are already as many 2,700 turbines in Scotland, and councils receive seven applications a day to open new turbines. VisitScotland recently said that plans to erect turbines on a site north of Dumfries could have a ‘detrimental effect’ on tourism.

Murdo Fraser, Tory convener of the Holyrood energy and tourism committee, said, ‘This is a significant development in the fight against the SNP’s wind farm obsession. If wind farms will damage tourism in one area of Scotland, this is surely the case the country over.’

Wind farm developers are heavily subsidised by the government, and the Scottish Government is moving ahead with plans to provide 100 percent of electricity through renewable energy by 2020. However, tourism industry analysts are not enthused, because they feel that the turbines are overcrowding the landscape and there are serious apprehensions that the turbines could damage the country’s annual £11bn tourism trade as they encroach into space reserved for other activities, including horse-riding and trekking trails.

In a planning committee report for the proposed Minnygap turbines, which is to be presented to Dumfries and Galloway Council on Thursday, VisitScotland said, ‘The proposed development appears to be visible from the Southern Upland Way, which is an important part of the tourism offering in the area. There have been a number of applications for wind farm developments along the route of the walk. Should all of these be granted, there could be a cumulative detrimental effect on walkers.’