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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wind farms and tourism 'compatible'

The full press release:
Harnessing Scotland's renewables potential will have minimal impact on the growth of Scotland's tourism industry, according to research published today.

Three quarters of tourists surveyed for the study into the Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism felt wind farms had a positive or neutral effect on the landscape. 97 per cent of tourists in the sample said wind farms would have no impact on their decision to visit Scotland again.

Extensive wind farm developments would cause an estimated reduction in revenue growth of 0.18 per cent of tourist spending by 2015. This effect equates to £7.6 million of expenditure against current tourism revenues of £4.2 billion.

Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Minister Jim Mather said:

"This research confirms that this Government's ambitious targets on renewable energy and tourism are entirely compatible. It provides further evidence to support our approach to progress the right developments in the right location.

"Harnessing our renewables potential, while driving an increase in tourism revenue, will bring sustainable economic growth to all parts of Scotland."


Any thoughts on what Jim Mather might be saying on Monday???


Anonymous said...

"Any thoughts on what Jim Mather might be saying on Monday???"

I don't know what he's going to say, but would be astounded if, having sent a letter to LWP saying the Government was minded to refuse, they then about-turned after a few (private) meetings with developers and their council chums, especially after the pros and cons of this application have been pored over ad nauseum for years. What could possibly change their mind in a few short weeks, and why did the Government send the "minded to refuse" letter anyway, rather than a simple yes or no? Were they under any legal obligation to do so?

Angus said...

why did the Government send the "minded to refuse" letter anyway, rather than a simple yes or no?

As I understand it, this was to try to tease some of the issues surrounding a major issue that the Government couldn't/wouldn't resolve - do environmental designations prevent all economic development? - by inviting the developer to comment.

As you say, these have been gone through repeatedly, so the logic of the M2R letter is unclear.

Or perhaps deliberately obscure.

Anonymous said...

The m2r letter was to flush out any potential future legal challenges. LWP cannot argue that they have not been given enough chances.

In terms of the EU legislation nothing has changed, and those are the reasons given in the m2r letter. So it is still bye-bye Mr Price.

Anonymous said...

"the right developments in the right location" which has clearly been shown not to be AMEC when you read the minded to refuse letter

Anonymous said...

No matter which way it falls looks like someone is going to be taking a case to the EU.
SNH for Civil Servants interpreting the designations not as SNH see them.
LWP for Civil Servants interpreting them too strictly and not as EU intended them.
Jim Mather might say a lot but it will stack up to a token jesture.

Anonymous said...

Two points here quickly before the kids get back from school. You are being economical with the truth if you are suggesting that this applies to Lewis, on two points to start (note I have only had a chance to race through the 300 pages and haven’t fully grilled the details)

Quotes are from the full report:

“However developments in the most sensitive locations do not
appear to have been given approval so that where negative impacts on
tourism might have been a real outcome there is, in practice, little
evidence of a negative effect.” is point 1. So it says the bad schemes get weeded out before consent i.e. LWP/Eiskein and Pairc!

“The choice of which areas should be used as case-studies was made
according to the importance of tourism and the landscape in those areas
and the presence of wind farms either in operation or under construction.”

It doesn’t seem to refer to an area that doesn’t have turbines at the moment being converted into an area that does. What it actually talks about is areas that already have turbines and may be getting more. Clearly this scenario does not apply to Lewis.
Interesting report none the Lewis, which will no doubt be spun to suit.

Anonymous said...

"do environmental designations prevent all economic development?"

Angus from your (former) position you will recall this is not the case. Rather there is a process in place that filters out bad schemes. That is what the Directives do. If its a good scheme it will pass the tests. If its a bad scheme it wont.

Problem for AMEC is their scheme clogs up the filter like an elephant in your sink.

Anonymous said...

Windturbines, where already present, can be an asset for tourism. However, I agree with anon 4.28pm that the situation is different where they are introduced into a wilderness area like the Lewis moor.
Mr Mather has indicated that the European designations are still paramount in any consideration.
I'll be awaiting his decision (if any there be on Monday) with interest.

Anonymous said...

"like an elephant in your sink" reminds me of an Oppenheim quote at Balallan Hall a couple of years ago. Something along the lines of 'I'll be honest with you, these things are huge and you will see them from erywhere. YOU CANT HIDE AN ELEPHANT IN A CHERRY TREE". At least he was upfront about it.

Seems elephants are all the rage here these days - we even have a white one - called Arnish.........

Anonymous said...

"Problem for AMEC is their scheme clogs up the filter like an elephant in your sink."

I nominate this as blog quote of the week so far.

Anonymous said...

This is not a like for like comparison with Lewis, but does make for good reading.

Taking Caithness and Sutherland (Flow Country v Lewis Peatlands) as the most comparable to here it has 195 turbines spread over the region in 14 schemes. However we nearly have that in one scheme alone.

Bottom of page 8 also says that 17.8% indicated that they would
not visit an area if a wind farm was constructed. That is more comparable to Lewis, where we are near wind farm virgins.

So a realistic question is could the local tourism sector take a 17.8% downturn from loss of visitors? On the often quoted £50M per annum income that tourism brings to here, that is nearly a £9M drop against community benefits on offer of just £3M.

It's a no brainer guys.

Anonymous said...

Page 16

"This suggests that to minimise the impact on Tourism very large single
developments are preferable to a number of smaller developments,
particularly when they occur in the same general area."

I rest my case yer honor

Anonymous said...

"So a realistic question is could the local tourism sector take a 17.8% downturn from loss of visitors? "

As operator of a small tourist accommodation business, my answer is "no". From talking to my clients, most of whom come to Lewis from England and mainland Scotland for the scenery, I would expect a far higher drop-off rate than 18%

Anonymous said...

Four other key points from the 300 pages

• The results confirm that a significant minority (20% to 30%) of tourists preferred landscapes without wind farms.

• A much higher percentage of respondents indicated that they would not visit an area if a wind farm was constructed (17.8%).

• Most individuals appear to prefer a landscape from their accommodation without a wind farm (68%) but there is also a substantial proportion that is neutral (28%) and a few who positively like wind farms (9%).

• The results of the internet survey suggest that the average tourist is prepared to pay around 20-25 per cent more for a room with an unspoilt room than they are for a room with a view of a wind farm.

I can't see how any of these add positive weight to the proposals for Lewis.

Why are Point Power being so quiet re their scheme for local energy. It sounded like a winner, with no impacts.

Anonymous said...

I see Geoff Riddington is down as an author of this paper and is talking at the meeting on Monday.

Can someone ask how he believes this should be interpretated into the Lewis scenario - ie 3 huges schemes, going from a baseline of zero top hundreds of turbines etc.

He needs to be put on the spot and not just spouting generic answers

Any local tourism companies got invites to this summit? Was it ever ascertained actually who is going?

Anonymous said...

Does anybody care that our economic output is significantly less that the rest of Scotland? Despite this we enjoy significantly better services than our urban, mainland counterparts. We can be blithe about our economic activity because we are underwritten by the urban working class. If we had were to receive services in proportion to our economic output, would we still be opposed to this industrial development?

Anonymous said...


I dont quite understand your point?

Anonymous said...

The BBC dont seem to in agreement that the windfarms and tourism can live together using the opening line of

"Wind farms could cost Scotland's tourism industry millions of pounds and hundreds of jobs, a report has warned. "

Anonymous said...


The point I’m trying to make is, should we be content to remain subsidised by the rest of the UK/Europe, without making a meaningful economic contribution in return for the services we receive. Given the current economic uncertainties, would it also not make sense to try to insulate ourselves against the very real prospect of economic downturn and the inevitable loss of inward investment/subsidy that would follow.

Anonymous said...


You are to intellegent to be posting on this blog!

Anonymous said...

Gazette advert says its open to the public.

Free lunch guys!

Anonymous said...

anon7:04 - you can hide an elephant in a cherry tree - just paint its toe nails red!