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Wind power hot topic for land conference delegates

Around 200 delegates are attending a two-day conference, Managing Change in Scotland's Landscapes, where the issue of onshore wind power will be prominent in the proceedings.

Speaking before the conference in Perth Stuart Brooks, chief executive of the wild land charity the John Muir Trust, one of the speakers at the event, told The Herald: "It is fascinating to think that 50 years ago, when the last conference was staged, if you had started talking about wind farms being a threat to landscape nobody would have a clue what you were on about. Farming wind? It wouldn't have made much sense.

"But today many see them as the biggest single threat to Scotland's globally renowned wild landscapes. We have to fight climate change and promoting expansion of renewable energy, including wind power, is part of that fight.

"But we need to consider all economic, environmental and social impacts. That's why we need the Scottish Government to show more leadership in protecting our wild landscapes before it is too late.

"We have public support and a scientific basis for developing an effective policy for protecting wild land. This should be seen as a positive outcome, not a brake on development."

The conference is organised by Landscape Institute Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland. Its chairman, landscape architect William Cairns, said: "In the 1960s and 1970s, the nation's landscapes were under growing and uncharted pressures from new developments, such as mass house-building, motorways, power lines and stations, reservoir and oil and gas developments.

"Many are still relevant, but new challenges include meeting renewable energy and new forestry targets, growing Scotland's tourism reputation, and improving the health and economy of our towns and cities."

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