Wind farm study shows no im­pact on tourism

The Oban Times - - News -

A STUDY by an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tancy com­pany has found that wind farms do not have an ef­fect on tourism, writes Louise Glen.

Big­gar Eco­nom­ics set out to find ev­i­dence of a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the de­vel­op­ment of on­shore wind farms and the tourism sec­tor in Scot­land.

The study looked at changes in em­ploy­ment in the sus­tain­able tourism sec­tor be­tween 2009 and 2013. It con­sid­ered these along with the growth in the on­shore wind sec­tor dur­ing this pe­riod.

The re­port looked at tourism em­ploy­ment in the im­me­di­ate lo­cal­ity of 18 wind farms across Scot­land that have been built since 2009.

The au­thor said: ‘This found there was a sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tion be­tween sites and there was no over­all re­la­tion­ship be­tween the de­vel­op­ment of wind en­ergy and tourism em­ploy­ment in an area.

‘In fact, in the ma­jor­ity of cases the level of tourism em­ploy­ment in­creased more in the im­me­di­ate area sur­round­ing a wind farm than in the wider lo­cal au­thor­ity area.’

The study con­cluded: ‘The anal­y­sis found there was no re­la­tion­ship be­tween the growth in the num­ber of wind tur­bines and the level of tourism em­ploy­ment at the lo­cal au­thor­ity level.

‘It would be rea­son­able to ex­pect that any im­pacts as­so­ci­ated with a wind farm de­vel­op­ment are most likely to be felt strong- est in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity of the de­vel­op­ment. An anal­y­sis of the lev­els of em­ploy­ment in the sus­tain­able tourism sec­tor in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity of on­shore wind farm de­vel­op­ments did not find any ev­i­dence of these ar­eas be­ing ad­versely af­fected.

‘On the con­trary it was found that the tourism sec­tor in the ma­jor­ity of ar­eas sur­round­ing wind farms grew faster than in the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties where they were sit­u­ated.

‘Al­though this study does not sug­gest that there is any di­rect re­la­tion­ship be­tween tourism sec­tor growth and wind farm de­vel­op­ment, it does show wind farms do not cause a de­crease in tourism em­ploy­ment ei­ther at a lo­cal or a na­tional level.’

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