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Are windfarms a blight on tourism?  

The imposing structures can be seen from miles around. In Dumfries and Galloway, there are plenty of turbines with blades turning on hills across the region.

But a report published by the Scottish Government this week has painted a dire scenario for tourism in the area as the push for renewable energy charges along.

Research, carried out by experts at Glasgow Caledonian University, says 277 jobs could go and £4.1million lost to the region’s economy by 2015 because of windfarms.

The study selected four rural areas; Dumfries and Galloway, Caithness and Sutherland, Stirling and Perth and Kinross, as they examined the possible economic impact of turbines.

And the results made for grim reading.

The report states that 98 per cent of tourists would be exposed to windfarms. Almost one quarter of businesses and one-third of rooms will have exposure to them as well.

If all windfarm applications currently in the region’s pipeline are granted permission to be built, there will be over 400 turbines dotted across the landscape.

It would be 8.2 per cent of the overall Scottish capacity – the largest share in the country.

The Stewartry presently has two fully operational windfarms at Windy Standard and Wether Hill near Carsphairn.

Alan Keith, chair of Dumfries and Galloway Accommodation Providers, reckons the statistics are not a true reflection on how businesses and the area would be affected.

Mr Keith, who runs a guest house in Crossmichael, said: “I believe that the report is being optimistic and that the impact could be much greater.

“You are looking at millions of pounds worth of damage.

“This region is already doing far more than its share with windfarms and hydro-electric schemes.

“So why do we have to do more damage?”

He added: “The figures don’t take into account potential windfarms at Blackcraig and Doon Hill. There’s no excuse for leaving these figures out.

“I think windfarms will have an affect on tourism in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Every report says that there are some tourists who just don’t like them and I think this is highlighted.”

Some observers believe windfarms may actually attract visitors to the region – a view that Mr Keith accepts but admits wouldn’t soften the blow if tourists snubbed the turbines.

He added: “On average, windfarms don’t attract tourists.

“There may be those who come to look at them but it does not detract from the fact that these things destroy the value of the landscape and that has to be protected.”

The Galloway News

20 March 2008

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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