The increase in onshore wind farms in recent years as a strategy to shoulder some of the responsibility of generating renewable capacity has led to an often fierce debate about the desirability of further growth. Part of the debate is the concern about negative impacts of onshore wind farm development on the tourism sector.
Tourism is very important to Northumberland and there is a requirement for the County Council to have access to an objective assessment of the most reliable evidence on the actual impacts of wind farms on tourism in UK settings that may or may not offer useful comparability to Northumberland. A particular issue faced by planners and decision-makers is that there is much unsubstantiated or selectively derived opinion on the relationship between wind farms and tourism. This report offers a reliable pathway through such material, in a UK context, and critically assesses its own contribution to knowledge on the issues raised in relation to the Northumberland setting.
The report comprises findings from four pieces of research: a ‘meta-study’ of research that has been published on the impacts of wind farms on tourism throughout the UK; an online survey of potential tourists to Northumberland; an online survey of Northumberland based, tourism-related, businesses on the impacts of wind farms on them; and a focus group with twelve people who represent the voice of concern regarding the impacts of wind farms on tourism in Northumberland.