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Tourism to break silence  

It’s not yet clear what Shetland’s tourist industry’s stance is on the windfarm proposal.

A representative of Shetland Tourism Association told The Shetland Times this week that the group was waiting for its meeting with Viking Energy on 18th April to discuss the various concerns the trade has before making any statement.

Meanwhile Andy Steven, of VisitShetland, said that any comment on the effect on tourism in Shetland should come from the association.

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.

“In cases which may be particularly contentious, area directors have been encouraged to seek a wider tourism perspective. Here, they are able to take on board the views of their Area Tourism Partnership which comprises a wide cross section of local private and public sector tourism interests.”

“Ultimately, it is for the planning authority (or Scottish Executive minister) to make the final decision as to whether or not a development proposal is approved.

“This process will reflect both local needs and aspirations and take into account those concerns of nature conservation and tourism interests.”

shetlandtoday.co.uk

30 March 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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