Harnessing Scotland’s renewables potential will have minimal impact on the growth of Scotland’s tourism industry, according to research published today.
Three quarters of tourists surveyed for the study into the Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism felt wind farms had a positive or neutral effect on the landscape. 97 per cent of tourists in the sample said wind farms would have no impact on their decision to visit Scotland again.
Extensive wind farm developments would cause an estimated reduction in revenue growth of 0.18 per cent of tourist spending by 2015. This effect equates to £7.6 million of expenditure against current tourism revenues of £4.2 billion.
Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Minister Jim Mather said:
“This research confirms that this Government’s ambitious targets on renewable energy and tourism are entirely compatible. It provides further evidence to support our approach to progress the right developments in the right location.
“Harnessing our renewables potential, while driving an increase in tourism revenue, will bring sustainable economic growth to all parts of Scotland.
“The study looked at potential impacts if all planned onshore wind farms are approved, but we know that not every wind farm application, either through the planning system or under the Electricity Act, will receive consent.
“That’s why our renewables policy is more than just onshore wind – we want Scotland to become the green energy capital of Europe, utilising the whole renewables mix from biomass to the energy we can generate from wave and tide.”
The Scottish Government’s targets are to generate 50 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020, and grow tourism revenues by 50 per cent in the ten years to 2015.
The report offers practical guidance for assessing the likely impact of a proposed wind farm on tourism.
The research was commissioned in April 2007 to investigate the impacts of wind farms on Scottish tourism. It takes into account both positive and negative effects of wind farms on tourism to model the impact on tourism revenues and the economy if all onshore wind farms are consented and built.
Any proposal to construct, extend or operate a wind farm with a generation capacity in excess of 50 Megawatt (MW) requires the consent of Scottish Ministers under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Proposals under 50 MW are dealt with by councils under planning legislation.
12 March 2008
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