Impact on Economy and Tourism
Windfarm objectors yesterday told a planning inquiry into two proposed developments in a picturesque area of central Sutherland that the schemes would have a severe adverse impact on tourism.
They claim the 46 turbines would destroy the unspoilt landscape, which they claim is the main tourist attraction in the economically fragile area.
The Bruce County Federation of Agriculture is calling for measures to protect the county's tourism industry, farming operations and municipalities from the rapidly developing wind energy industry.
"Recent studies in other countries have shown that large wind generating areas and tourism are not compatible. It would be a shame to lose the gains we have made in tourism by not having planning in place to make sure our tourism industry stays vibrant," federation president Robert Emerson told Bruce County council's agriculture, tourism and planning committee on Thursday.
The Lycoming County Planning Commission postponed a decision Thursday on whether to recommend an amendment to the county zoning ordinance to significantly change where electricity generating wind turbines may be built. Planning Commission staff had put together an amendment that, if approved by the county commissioners, would allow wind turbines in resource protection and agriculture districts by right and in countryside districts by special exception granted by the county zoning hearing board.
Lord James Joicey runs the 16,000-acre Ford and Etal Estate where more than 30 small businesses operate, most of them heavily reliant on tourism for survival.
He went some way down the line of agreeing to have turbines on his land, but withdrew when the full implications of their size and impact on local society became apparent. He was also concerned for the owners of local small businesses. He admits, however, that the income from hosting turbines - around £10,000 a year per unit - would have been welcome.
One couple's plans on hold because of wind farms. How many more local businesses are affected? Businesses heavily reliant on tourism are dismayed at proposals to erect giant wind turbines in north Northumberland.
When Nick and Gail Maycock rolled up at the front door of a former pub in Northumberland, they realised straight away it was for them.
They were looking for somewhere to run as a B&B and, with their worldly goods and three dogs packed into their Morris Minor, the sight of The Friendly Hound couldn't have been more appropriate.
Now, nine years on and £100,000-worth of rebuilding and development later, the couple look out on to the stunning landscape across to Ford Moss Nature Reserve with the threat of staring at 10, 360-foot wind turbines at every turn.
"We don't want to see our hard work going down the drain," says Nick. "None of us is opposed to alternative energy sources and we realise we can't keep on going the way we are, but these developers have no interest in local businesses.
The Lake District attracts more than 17 million visitors, one million overnight stays and tourist spending in excess of £34m a year.
Its lure to tourists is well known - hills, dales, lakes and attractions that range from Beatrix Potter to owl sanctuaries, and traditional Lakeland shows to restored miniature steam railways.
But now, if the West Cumbria branch of Friends of the Earth have their way, visitors will be heading to this particular green and pleasant corner of England to gawp at . . . wind farms.
Fife's prime attraction for visitors must be taken into account when a proposed wind farm near the picturesque village of Ceres is deliberated, a tourism leader has warned.
The region's main appeal for tourists, its scenery and environment, must be given due consideration VisitScotland Fife area director Alan Graham said.
There's been mixed news for tourism in Berwickshire this week - while one plan looks set to boost the economy another development is threatening to do the exact opposite............Things aren't looking as promising for the residents of Coldingham Moor. As reported in last week's Berwickshire News, they are becoming increasingly worried about what repercussions the proposed windfarm for Drone Hill could have for them.
The development is the brainchild of PM Renewables and if their application is given the green light by Scottish Borders Council's Planning Department later this summer, 22 76 metre high turbines could soon be standing on either side of the A1107 across the cliff tops.
Both Coldingham Community Council and Coldingham STAG have voiced their concerns over negative side effects for the local tourism industry and a recent survey by Visit Scotland has confirmed their suspicions. Results pointed to the fact that 26 per cent of people questioned wouldn't visit a place with a windfarm in its vicinity.
Cooper, who said he has only been keeping up with the wind farm proposal through the news, said his concerns lay with the farm's aesthetics.
"I think a pristine skyline would be better than one with windmills in it," Cooper said.
He did say he understands the wind farm would be far enough off the coast so as it would not be clearly visible.
Bluewater Wind had completed a photo realization tour down the coast, where they exhibited rendered photographs of actual, local beach views of the ocean -- with the windmills digitally rendered on the horizon.
Based on those photo realizations, the wind farm would be barely visible on clear days, and completely out of sight on hazy ones.
The Blowing Rock Town Council has become the first local government in Northwest North Carolina to ban windmills.
The decision by the town, whose economy depends on tourism, comes less than a year after Watauga County became the first county in the state to adopt an ordinance to regulate wind-energy systems.
"I think appearance is extremely important in a small town like Blowing Rock," said Town Councilwoman Rita Wiseman. She joined Tuesday's unanimous vote to prohibit wind-energy systems, including residential-scale windmills.
The landscape of Shetland could be changed forever if the giant windfarm project goes ahead, those in the tourism industry told representatives from Viking Energy at a meeting on Wednesday.
Members of Shetland Tourism Association, including accommodation providers and tour operators, expressed concern about the size of the proposed development, which could see as many a 192 turbines being erected in the central and north-east mainland.
They feared the visual impact of the windfarm would deter tourists, although this was disputed by David Thomson of Viking Energy who produced the results of surveys carried out in other parts of the UK that windfarms made no difference.
A suggestion was made to give questionnaires on the subject for tour guides to give to tourists.
Wind farm proposals for remote and scenic parts of Scotland are always controversial, but the public must now consider the issue of how best to transmit the extra electricity generated.
A lot of power is to be generated in the sparsely populated and windy west of Scotland and then transmitted south to consumers.
While wind farms may be unsightly to many and are considered to blight the landscape, proposed power pylons needed to carry hundreds of miles of overhead lines across hills and glens are potentially more harmful to the environment and tourism.
Residents living in one of Scotland's tourist havens yesterday told how proposals for two towering wind turbines in the coastal village had instantly "divided" their community.
Alarm bells sounded at Ullapool, Wester Ross, as news spread that local energy firm, the ironically named Invisible Heating Systems (IHS), had submitted plans for two 80ft wind turbines beside its premises.
Campaigners have won their battle to overturn plans for a five-turbine windfarm on the unspoiled coastline of the Solway Firth.
Around 1,000 villagers, visitors and business owners from Allonby and the surrounding area sent letters of objection to Allerdale Council when Nuon Renewables submitted plans to build the 102m turbines at Brownrigg Hall Farm, just outside Allonby.
Today councillors on the Allerdale development panel rejected the plans on the grounds the windfarm would have a detrimental visual impact in the landscape and harm tourism in the area.
He said the national view of VisitScotland, on windfarms, was summed up by the following statement.
"VisitScotland understands and supports the drive for renewable energy and recognises the potential of Scotland's vast resource. As a consequence, VisitScotland is not against the principle of windfarm development.
"Research carried out by an independent consultancy was inconclusive and reflected a split in visitor opinion between those strongly against windfarm development of any kind and those who said in some areas it actually enhanced what was otherwise a bleak and unattractive landscape.
"However, VisitScotland is becoming increasingly concerned over the proliferation of speculative development proposals, many of them in areas of high landscape or scenic value or in locations which directly impact on tourism operations or activity.
"The local area network offices are aware of this concern and are keeping a close eye on development proposals affecting their areas.
"In cases where it is clear that in VisitScotland's opinion tourism will be affected in a negative manner, representations will be made through the formal planning process.
"VisitScotland will, however, not get involved in open public debate in the media prior to applications being formally submitted.
A citizens' group opposed to the location of massive wind-energy plant in northern Potter County is pressuring Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to stop the plan.
However, with Gov. Rendell pushing for renewable energy projects in Pennsylvania, the "Save God's Country" (SGC) group could face an uphill struggle.
An SGC spokesman said the location of wind turbines in the region is at odds with the governor's strong support for the Pennsylvania Wilds tourist promotion plan. "Are hundreds of industrial wind turbines something that will tempt people to visit the Pennsylvania Wilds?" asked Dan Howe. "It seems incongruous, and yet this is what is happening in Potter, Cameron, McKean, Lycoming and Tioga counties, all designated as the Pennsylvania Wilds."
The National Hotels and Restaurants Association (ASONAHORES) praised the Government's decision to solve the conflict regarding the construction of a wind energy park in Punta Cana (east), looking for a suitable place for that project and which doesn't affect tourism development.
ASONAHORES president Luis Lopez said yesterday that he met with Tourism minister Felix Jiménez, and the executive vice-president of the Dominican energy czar Radhamés Segura, and it was agreed, as Tourism had proposed and his entity demanded, to relocate the project where it doesn't affect the zone's tourism expansion.
The place originally selected by the Punta Cana-Macao energy group (CEPEM), is in an area zoned for tourism resorts, created by decree in 1986, and for which ASONAHORES had demanded adherence.
The Union of Owners of the lands and tourism projects at Punta Cana's Polygon 5 reiterated that the Punta Cana-Macao Energy Consortium (CEPM) seeks to install a wind energy park in the coastal strip at Cabo Engaño, Altagracia (Higuey) province (east), in private lands and without the required permits.
But the CEPM affirms that it has the project's necessary permits.
The president of the owners' organization Braulio Garrido warned that they are wiling to go to court and file charges for abuse authority against any official who violates the tourism legislation, the Law of Coasts and Seas, and decree 595-06 authorizing the construction of the wind mills, which he affirms would be the highest constructions built in that zone of the country.
They stated that decree 595-06 issued by president Leonel Fernandez does not authorize CEPM to install a wind energy park in the coastal strip. "The first paragraph establishes that it authorizes that partnership to build project on their land of their property and we challenge the promoters of the wind energy park to present their deeds and permits authorizing them to occupy that place," he said.
Garrido feels that it would be detrimental for the country if it decides to sell part of its lands to install a wind park in a tourism zone, affirming that the Union of Owners has 40 million square meters of land along the Cabo Engaño shoreline.
He insists that the project affects tourism and pollutes the environment.
Offshore wind farms could seriously damage tourism in some of the country’s most scenic beauty spots, it was warned yesterday.
Failte Ireland is particularly concerned about plans to build up to 400 wind turbines off the coastline between Killiney, Co Dublin and Arklow, Co Wicklow.
All of them, at 160 metres-high, would be visible from the shoreline.
Failte Ireland said it was not ‘anti-wind farm’ but had to protect the country’s tourism industry.
Controversial plans for a windfarm near a country park have been ruled out.
A proposal to build 19 turbines - each around 300ft high - in Kelburn Estate, near Largs in Ayrshire, has been rejected in the face of major opposition.
Planning chiefs said the windfarm posed a threat to the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park environment and the tourism industry.