Wind farm study shows no impact on tourism
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.’