Shock Horror! Poll Shows Tourists Hate Wind Turbines: Scotland’s Highlands Shunned

A decade or so ago, the wind industry used to include claims about the tourism potential of their proposed wind farm in their planning documents.

For some reason, that pitch has been quietly removed from planning applications in recent years. Could it be that it’s not just the locals who hate the look of these things? Are tourists lodging in B&Bs next to wind farms driven nuts by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infra-sound, in the same way as those forced to live with these things every day of their lives?

Whatever it is, the conclusion is pretty clear: tourists hate these things too and, quite reasonably, have elected to avoid them like the plague.

Tourists shun areas hit by wind turbine ‘blight’
The Sunday Times
Mark Macaskill
16 July 2017

More than half of tourists to Scotland would rather not visit scenic areas dominated by man-made structures such as wind farms, a YouGov poll suggests.

A survey carried out on behalf of the John Muir Trust (JMT) found that 55% of respondents were “less likely” to venture into areas of the countryside industrialised by giant turbines, electricity pylons and super-quarries.

Just 3% said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26% said such large-scale developments would make “no difference”.

The poll has rekindled calls for Scottish ministers to increase protection for wild and scenic areas that, it is argued, will protect rural tourism businesses.

It follows a recent decision to approve the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm in Altnaharra, the first to win consent within a designated wild land area. Each turbine will stand 125m high.

JMT said the decision had “created uncertainty” over the protection of wild land.

“As schools across England break up for the summer this week and many families flock to Scotland, we must remember that, for many, it’s the ability to enjoy being outdoors in Scotland’s unique, unspoilt natural landscapes that brings them north,” said Andrew Bachell, JMT’s chief executive.

Campaigners fear new wind farm on wild land will be a Trojan horse

“When a clear majority of people say they’d be put off visiting wild and scenic areas by the existence of large-scale wind farms, giant pylons, super-quarries and other developments, policymakers have to pay attention, before it’s too late.”

Figures released by VisitScotland have highlighted the importance of scenic areas to Scotland’s tourism sector.

In 2015, outdoor attractions accounted for 19% of total day visits in Scotland. More than 800,000 trips were made by UK residents to Scotland’s national parks, generating more than £187m.

In June 2014, Scottish Natural Heritage, the agency that oversees nature and landscapes, published a map of 42 wild land areas covering just under 20% of Scotland’s total land mass. These areas are characterised by their ruggedness and absence of major human infrastructure.

The Scottish government promised protection for wild land areas at the time they were officially recognised in 2014, yet energy developers continue to submit applications to construct industrial-scale wind farms in such areas. Although a number have been refused permission, conservationists fear the Creag Riabhach wind farm could be a Trojan horse.

The YouGov poll, conducted in May, involved 1,028 Scottish adults. It found that 10% of respondents were “undecided” about the impact of large-scale developments , while 6% expressed no interest in visiting scenic areas. A YouGov survey in 2013 found that 51% of respondents were “less likely” to visit a scenic area which contains large scale developments.

Tom Campbell, managing director of the Highland touring route North Coast 500, launched in 2015, said it had become a top visitor destination and a showcase for wild land and seascapes.

He added: “We need to be aware of the balance between development to underpin the economy and the fragility of the tourism based on choices people make on Scotland.”
The Sunday Times

Highlanders ‘getting the balance right’…

8 thoughts on “Shock Horror! Poll Shows Tourists Hate Wind Turbines: Scotland’s Highlands Shunned

  1. Having been surrounded by turbines for the past two years and 4 months, I would not consider ever going anywhere near turbines on a holiday. It makes me sad to think of so many places I would still like to go to, having been ruined aesthetically.
    Knowing the frightening effects of low frequency noise modulations and infrasound radiation, I won’t ever vacation anywhere near industrial wind turbines.
    I’ve stopped inviting guests to my home who I know could be harmed, after having had a guest collapse and be taken by ambulance and kept in hospital for a week followed by 3 more weeks of every cardiovascular test and 3 different types of heart monitors, which he had to wear day and night. In the end, his doctor said he was fine but because of all of that, his insurance was increased for flying to $300.00.
    These turbines need to be turned off and taken down.

  2. I wonder how holidaymakers in the beautiful Welsh Georgian seaside town of Llandudno feel now that the sea view is a view of the Burbo bank windfarm?

  3. I look at the picture above of Stirling Castle, and the only way I can think to describe it is as if the landscape has developed a sudden extreme case of acne. Or should that be plukes as they are more commonly referred to in Scotland.

    Of course the reality is far more serious than this and it is going to take a lot more than a gigantic tube of clearasil to stop this ‘infection’ of modern society from reoccurring.

  4. The tourism cry by Governments and the industry is still a loud cry here in SA. Even the coming of a massive battery is being touted as a tourist boom for Jamestown.
    YET, where is there any community that has prospered from having turbines on their doorstep. Where are all the jobs and income from tourists who stay for days exalting at the beauty of these things.
    Take a look at Millicent the town closest to one of the first Turbine installations in SA, it is a lovely town but a dying town. Where are the tourists, where is the industry, where is the future of this town.
    Why would anyone want to stay and look at these things, especially if they are interested at all, all they have to do is look out of the car window as they drive past them as they now encroach on major roadways, and even at some places like Cape Bridgewater right on the edge of some of Victoria’s most beautiful ocean scenery and in the middle of some of its most scenic countryside.
    Where is the fortune these things have brought to Portland, near Cape Bridgewater a town that now has turbines on its very edge. Portland is yet another town that’s not profited by incoming hordes of tourists.
    So where are the towns and communities that have profited, yes there are some community organisations that receive meagre funds from wind companies but has it been enough to save the towns, have the towns grown in population, businesses and prosperity?

  5. A website named something like ‘windturbinefreeholidaysdotcom’ would be a good idea. A map showing areas where turbines are visible from the ground, and areas where no turbines are visible. It would make it easier for people to take turbine free holidays. The site could display ads from businesses in turbine free areas. It might provide a little more motivation not to approve wind farms if the site became popular.

    1. A website or map such as suggested, would also make it easier to find somewhere to live where there are no built or planned turbines.

      This map shows 60% visibility of turbines across Scotland.

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