A DRIVE over the Lowther Hills through the twin villages of Wanlockhead, in my constituency, and Leadhills in Lanarkshire, can be an incredible experience, especially for visitors.

The rolling hills and narrow valleys are one of the south of Scotland’s unspoiled gems with existing and untapped potential for tourism, located in a wild rural area between two major trunk routes, the A76 and M74.

That’s why I feel strongly that the proposed North Lowther windfarm, featuring 30 large turbines which would dominate the landscape, is a step too far in the onward march of such schemes across our area.

Great efforts have been made to develop a tourism industry in the Lowther Hills with Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village, home to a lead mining museum, and further attractions at Leadhills, such as a narrow gauge railway.

But the key ingredients are undoubtedly the surrounding hills and valleys, which are, of course, enjoyed by strong local communities as well as visitors.

And after joining a site visit last week, a forerunner to a planning inquiry at Sanquhar Community Centre in early October, I’m as determined as ever to support my constituents who strongly oppose this unwelcome project.

My father David Mundell, as local MP, was also there and feels equally opposed to the project. We both plan to contribute to the inquiry.

The turbines, illuminated at night, would surround the villages raising such concerns as potential water contamination, road disruption during construction, possibly damaging the finely balanced ecology and wildlife of the area, protected historical sites and conservation zones.

Climate change is a major issue but I firmly believe a mixed energy policy is the sensible way forward.

Our region has already made a huge contribution through wind power schemes, so I would urge the Scottish Government to call a halt to this project and protect a very special place.