Leading landscape photographer Colin Prior has attacked the Scottish Government's wind farm free-for-all, accusing it of forsaking the country's landscape for generations to come.
Prior, whose well-known mountain images are, ironically, being used to promote the Year of Natural Scotland, told today's Scotsman newspaper that the government risked ruining the very thing that its own tourism drive seeks to sell.
'Despite all the drum beating that goes on about what Scotland has to offer it's what it doesn't have that attracts [visitors]' he said.
'Up until recently, Scotland's landscapes were somewhere that one could escape the reach of development and commercialism. Empty glens and remote beaches, where, if you chose wisely, you could spend the day without meeting another person – how rare is that in most of Europe's landscapes.'
'No longer – the turbines have already changed the perception of Scotland to the outside world.'
'Most of the pictures [in an upcoming book] are the big mountain views and if I took them again now I would have to use Photoshop to take the wind farms out of them' he claims in the Scotsman.
'I'm afraid that the Scottish Government has forsaken the landscape of Scotland for generations to come.'
Given Prior's profile, and his involvement with the Year of Natural Scotland, it is perhaps inevitable that his comments would receive attention; so we contacted him to find out more.
'What I wished to do was to speak out for wild land' he told us this afternoon.
'What the naturalist intuits, I think, is that if he or she doesn't speak out, the political debate will be left instead to those seeking to benefit their various constituencies. And as a naturalist I have no constituency.'
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