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Tourist companies join protests about offshore wind farms

The tourist industry has added its voice to the campaign against massive investment in wind farms off the Dutch coast, Nos television says on Wednesday.

Tourist company association Recron says its members will lose tens of millions of euros a year and several thousand jobs could go if the government presses ahead with placing hundreds of offshore turbines.

‘Tourists want to see a beautiful landscape and great views, not a wind turbine in front of their door or in the garden or the sea,’ said Recron spokeswoman Marike Rosier.

Spending

A report for coastal towns and cities by Buck Consultants International says €100m a year in tourist spending is at risk because of the plans and that 3,000 tourist industry jobs will be lost.

The energy agreement signed by the national and provincial governments envisages the development of several massive offshore wind farms in order to meet green energy targets.

Islands

One location earmarked by the minister is a site some six kilometres off the Wadden islands’ northerly coasts.

The mayors of the Wadden Islands have already written to the economic affairs ministry calling for an urgent rethink.

The island council says the massive development is ‘not responsible’ given the greater social importance of the Wadden Sea area as a top tourist attraction.

They also say the plan threatens shipping, bird migration and the region’s status as a Unesco world heritage site.

Potential sites

The government has earmarked almost 1,500 square kilometers of the North Sea as potential sites for new offshore wind farms in an effort to meet sustainable energy targets.

The recent energy agreement drawn up by the government, industry, unions and green groups includes a commitment to ensuring five million households are provided with electricity derived from wind farms within 10 years.

The Netherlands currently has two offshore wind farms which generate a combined 200 megawatts of power. Plans for the location of new wind farms will be finalised next year.