September 15, 2006

Wind farms a threat to tourism

A tourist board has come out strongly against wind farm developments which could impact on Northumberland as a top holiday destination.

Northumberland Tourism has called for an independent study in the wake of a rush of renewable energy applications across the county.

There are currently eight live applications with another 17 in the pipeline ““ totalling nearly 300 turbines.

Campaigners said that plans for 24 turbines near Haltwhistle would be seen from the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall.

“Most people come here because of the wonderful natural environment and this is in danger of being blighted by so many wind farms,” said
Northumberland Tourism chairman Mike Parker.

Recent research by VisitScotland revealed that 38 per cent of visitors said that wind farms “spoiled the scenery” and 26 per cent said they would be less likely to visit an area if wind farms were developed.

Tourism businesses said they must not be near areas of historic value, tourist spots, view points, wildlife areas and places of natural beauty.

“These are alarming findings,” added Mr Parker.

“They show the potential damage they could cause.

“We want more visitors to come here ““ not less.

“We need the impact on tourism to be an integral part of the planning process.”

Lorna Charlton, who runs Cornhills farm bed and breakfast at Kirkwhelpington, said: “Tourism in Northumberland is in danger of being annihilated by wind farm development ““ we have to do something about it now.

“I welcome these moves by Northumberland Tourism.”

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