Scotland’s best-known hillwalker is “hopeful” the Scottish Government will agree to a ban on windfarms on the nation’s remaining wild land.
Broadcaster Cameron McNeish says he was “encouraged” by private discussion with First Minister Alex Salmond and wishes to resume the debate.
The author and lifelong nationalist recently joined the SNP, saying it was time to make his allegiance official before the independence referendum.
Mr McNeish said: “The issue of windfarms is very important. I know a lot of people who have been disappointed the SNP are not protecting the wild land areas of Scotland. I’ve spoken to Alex Salmond about it and I hope to have further discussions soon.
“I’ve raised the possibility of setting aside some areas of the Highlands that would be turbine-free and cap numbers elsewhere.”
Objecting on the grounds of visual intrusion and economic cost, Mr McNeish wants a “buffer-zone” around Scotland’s national parks and a guarantee that Torridon and the north-west corner between Ullapool and Cape Wrath remain turbine-free.
He believes the volume of turbines in the Borders and Monadhliath mountains has reached “saturation point”. Asked how much of a threat public opposition to onshore windfarms could prove to the SNP’s chances of winning the referendum, Mr McNeish said: “I think it’s quite serious.” He added he felt it was a “public-relations disaster” to have billionaire Donald Trump joining the campaign against windfarms, claiming the American’s intervention was purely self-interest.” Mr McNeish, who expects to continue his discussion with the first minister soon, said: “I was very encouraged by the fact Alex Salmond was willing to discuss the issue. “