More than half of tourists to Scotland would rather not visit scenic areas dominated by man-made structures such as wind farms, a YouGov poll suggests.
A survey carried out on behalf of the John Muir Trust (JMT) found that 55% of respondents were “less likely” to venture into areas of the countryside industrialised by giant turbines, electricity pylons and super-quarries.
Just 3% said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26% said such large-scale developments would make “no difference”.
The poll has rekindled calls for Scottish ministers to increase protection for wild and scenic areas that, it is argued, will protect rural tourism businesses.
It follows a recent decision to approve the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm in Altnaharra, the first to win consent within a designated wild land area. Each turbine will stand 125m high.
“As schools across England break up for the summer this week and many families flock to Scotland, we must remember that, for many, it’s the ability to enjoy being outdoors in Scotland’s unique, unspoilt natural landscapes that brings them north,” said Andrew Bachell, JMT’s chief executive.
“When a clear majority of people say they’d be put off visiting wild and scenic areas by the existence of large-scale wind farms, giant pylons, super-quarries and other developments, policymakers have to pay attention, before it’s too late.”