Scotland will still be bonny with turbines, tourists say
Wind turbines will not put tourists off visiting Scotland, according to a new study commissioned by the Scottish government.
Three quarters of visitors surveyed said wind farms had a positive or neutral effect on the landscape, and 97% said wind farms would have no impact on their decision to visit Scotland again.
Extensive wind farm developments would cost the tourist industry just 0.18% of expenditure and about 200 jobs, researchers at Glasgow’s Caledonian University calculated.
The Scottish government aims to generate 50% of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020 while growing tourism revenues by 50% between 2005 and 2015.
Energy and tourism minister Jim Mather said: “This research confirms that this Government’s ambitious targets on renewable energy and tourism are entirely compatible.
“Harnessing our renewables potential, while driving an increase in tourism revenue, will bring sustainable economic growth to all parts of Scotland.”
Jason Ormiston, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “This report confirms that the impact on tourism of sensible wind farm development is minimal, if not zero, and if there are any losses to the Scottish economy, they would be more than offset by establishing a renewables industry in Scotland.”
However, anti-wind farm campaigners raised concerns that tourists did not have a realistic grasp of how turbines could affect the landscape.
Gillian Bishop, media officer for campaign group Views of Scotland, said: “It is difficult unless you have actually been there and seen them to know what your reaction is and a lot of them are in the planning stages so people haven’t seen them.
“A lot of the ones that are operating at the moment are very small, compared to the new ones that are going in which are two or three times the size.”