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Wind farms and tourism research welcomed
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has yesterday welcomed independent research which shows wind farms do not affect the choice of eight in ten tourists to visit Scotland and most people do not feel wind farms spoil the countryside.
The independent research, commissioned by VisitScotland, shows that:
- 83 per cent of Scottish respondents and 80 per cent of UK respondents stated their decision to holiday in the UK would not be affected by the presence of a wind farm.
- 80 per cent of Scottish respondents and 81 per cent of UK respondents either disagreed with or neither agreed nor disagreed that wind farms spoil the look of the Scottish countryside.
- 83 per cent of Scottish respondents and 82 per cent of UK respondents either disagreed with or neither agreed nor disagreed, that they would tend to avoid an area of the countryside if there were a wind farm.
- 46 per cent of Scottish respondents, and 40 per cent of UK respondents, would be interested in visiting a wind farm development if it included a visitor centre.
The survey comes a week after figures which show tourism in Scotland increased 9 per cent between 2010 and 2011, and money spent by visitors increased by 14 per cent.
Energy and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“These figures prove what we have long known – that the vast majority of visitors to Scotland do not see wind farms as a problem.
“Four in five visitors say their decision to come to Scotland would not be affected by wind farms.
“These figures show that those who speak out against the impact of wind turbines on the landscape do not represent the vast majority of Scots, or of potential visitors from within the UK – the vast, but too often silent majority, have said that wind farms simply do not affect their decision making.
“This research is borne out by the fact that the most recent tourism statistics show Scotland is growing in popularity with visitors, with a 9 per cent rise in overnight stays.
“Scotland has vast natural resources and huge renewable energy potential and we have a responsibility to ensure the people of Scotland benefit. These figures show that it is possible both to enjoy Scotland’s stunning natural beauty, and to benefit from the potential of renewable energy.“