Wind farms in the Scottish countryside appear to have no negative effect on the tourism industry according to a recenty survey.
BiGGAR Economics looked at the relationship between onshore wind development and the tourism sector in Scotland and many may be surprised by some of the results.
They looked at a number of different wind farms, including Drone Hill on Coldingham Moor, where they discovered that between 2009 and 2013 tourism in the immediate area of Drone Hill actually increased by over 45%. During that same period tourism across the Scottish Borders increased by 13.3%.
According to the BiGGAR report into the impact of wind farms on tourism, Scottish Borders Council is one of only a handful of Scottish local authorities to have considered the impacts of the onshore wind sector on associated employment opportunities.
The report confirmed what many already suspected - that rural areas have a greater level of installed onshore wind and the Scottish Borders, Highland and South Lanarkshire have the highest level.
“When the growth in sustainable tourism employment in the areas local to wind farm developments was compared to the growth rate for the wider local authority it was found that for the majority of cases the tourism sector in the immediate area around the wind farm grew quicker than it did across the local authority area,” concluded the authors of the report.
“Although this study does not suggest that there is any direct relationship between tourism sector growth and wind farm development, it does show that wind farms do not cause a decrease in tourism employment either at a local or a national level.”
The results were welcomed by the renewables industry, Lindsay Roberts of Scottish Renewables saying: “These new figures demonstrate that the economic and environmental benefits of green energy go hand in hand with significant social benefits.”