Wind campaigners have urged the Government to finalise and publish a report into the impact giant turbines have on the rural economy.
Groups seeking to preserve Northumberland’s unique visual appeal have warned of a possible detrimental impact on visitor numbers, and said it is vital the Government sets out its evidence.
Their calls comes as it emerges two senior Government ministers are locked in a dispute over the key report. Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey is said to have raised concerns with Conservative Environment Secretary Owen Paterson over Defra’s plans to assess the economic impact of wind farms.
Speculation is mounting that Mr Davey has blocked the report carried out by the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs.
Bill Short, from the Northumberland and Newcastle Society’s environmental committee, said: “There is very little out there that backs up what we know anecdotally, that these turbines put people off. We have heard of some studies that say anywhere up to 30% of people are put off visiting because of turbines. If you think how important tourism is to Northumberland, what business can afford to lose 30% of potential customers?”
Also calling for a timely publication of the report was Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey. The Labour councillor said: “‘The coalition is completely divided about the potential of onshore wind farms and it’s places like Northumberland which are at the forefront of onshore wind developments which are impacted the most.
“This report should be published and it’s a shame that coalition tensions are stopping further evidence which would be very helpful in our planning process.”
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