Leader comment: Don't halt tourism drive on North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 has been a spectacular success since it was '˜opened' but award-winning writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish has turned conventional wisdom on its head by stating that the concept is doing more harm than good.

A stunning sight such as this in the north-west of Scotland, on the North Cost 500 route, is only likely to be seen by a visitor who arrives in the area by car.

Mr McNeish deserves to be heard, because his career has been dedicated to extolling the virtues of the great outdoors.

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On this occasion, however, he’s called it wrong by suggesting that tourists should bike, walk or even ride horses instead of exploring the north of Scotland by car in defiance of climate change targets. If this was mandatory, the very welcome tourism boost the area has enjoyed would end overnight.

It’s true there are problems with the NC500, because it has attracted far more traffic than was imagined, and the infrastructure and road network is creaking and cracking. But calling the whole thing off is not the way to deal with them. There are other ways to address these issues.

Mr McNeish is well-meaning, but his criticism is mis-placed. If we want to tackle the environmental effect of motoring in Scotland, let’s worry about the M8 first.