Northumberland County Council is set to commission a tourism impact survey to determine the effect wind farms have on the sector.
However, the results will not be known when the planning committee is due to consider EnergieKontor’s application to site nine turbines at Belford Burn.
Karen Ledger, the council’s head of development services, admitted at a public meeting to discuss the Belford Burn proposal that concerns had been raised about the impact of wind farms on tourism in the county. So much so that a study to determine the effects is due to be commissioned.
It will look at the effect of existing and planned onshore wind turbines on tourism businesses and on potential visitors, with specific regard to visitor perception in the medium and long term. It is hoped the study will be completed by next April – too late to impact on the Belford Burn application, which is due to come before the planning committee early next year.
At the meeting on Monday, owners of businesses reliant on tourism expressed fears for their livelihoods, and residents called for the council to defer making a decision until the results of the study were available.
But a spokesperson for the county council said it would not be “reasonable” to delay making a decision until the study was completed; and that the applicant would have a right to appeal against non-determination if they did defer considering the plans.
She added: “Having said that we are still waiting for additional information from the applicants so we don’t know yet when we would be in a position to determine the application.”
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