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Report into impact of turbines on tourism on Anglesey

A special report into the impact on tourism of wind turbines on Anglesey warns they could stop a “small minority” of visitors from coming to the island.

Last week the council launched its strategy to create an extra 1,000 jobs in tourism – turning the island into a high quality destination and targeting outdoor activity enthusiasts.

But a separate report commissioned by the local authority says some tourists could stay away.

There are currently around 70 planning applications for wind turbines across the scenic island, some towering 115 metres high.

Pressure group Anglesey Against Wind Turbines (AAWT) is demanding a minimum buffer zone of 1.5km between large turbines and residential properties.

The newly launched Destination Management Plan for Anglesey also cautions that turbine development has to be controlled near tourist facilities.

The turbine report was prepared by consultants The Tourism Company.

It focused on evidence from previous research into the impact of turbines on visitor numbers in the UK and Europe.

The report states: “Evidence is mixed on the proportion of tourists who may choose to stay away from areas with wind turbines in future.

“While this may be a relatively small minority it could be quite damaging to markets in certain locations.”

Iwan Huws, principal tourism development officer, who commissioned the report, said he felt the concerns raised had been taken on board by planners.

He added there was a risk that tourists could be deterred by turbines but that the evidence was not conclusive.

He said: “It is a matter of proximity, a turbine next to a tourist site would have an impact. That is why the report calls for controls around tourism sites.

“Planners have listened to those concerns and are looking at controls on height and proximity.”

Wind turbine opponent Hanna Elin Hughes said: “Anglesey in itself is an area of outstanding natural beauty, doesn’t that make it a tourist attraction in its entirety?

“People visit the island for the beautiful views as well as any other attraction, why destroy our best asset?”

Glyn Davies added: “Anyone who is thinking of increasing tourism here on Anglesey, whilst another council department seems intent on changing Anglesey from a beautiful tourist destination to an industrial energy zone, must be blind to the truth about what is being planned against the majority of citizen wishes.”