Shock at claims on wind farms tourism impact

Montgomeryshire AM Russell George says he is ‘shocked and amazed’ by claims from First Minister Carwyn Jones that wind farms have no impact on tourism.

Montgomeryshire AM Russell George says he is ‘shocked and amazed’ by claims from First Minister Carwyn Jones that wind farms have no impact on tourism.

Mr George said he was amazed by Mr Jones’s comments during the weekly First Minister’s Question Time on Tuesday.

He accused the minister of ‘pretending’ the issue didn’t exist and called on him to look at reports which proved otherwise.

Mr George said: “I was truly shocked and amazed by the comments made by the First Minister.

“Even if he doesn’t want to come to Mid Wales and speak to people working in the sector and listen to their concerns, he could have certainly read the detailed report that the Scottish Government published in 2008 that measured the economic impact wind farms have had on the Scottish tourism industry.

“The conclusions of the report were very clear, wind farms and their infrastructure have had a definite and measurable impact on the sector in Scotland.”

Mr George suggested that Mr Jones should commission research into finding out why people visited Mid Wales.

He also said the minister should listen to what tourism operators had to say.

“Instead of pretending that this issue doesn’t exist, perhaps the First Minister should commission research in Wales by speaking to the sector and to the tourists who visit Wales because of its beautiful landscape,” he said.

“I would suggest he may find those comments hard to justify.”

Mr George is currently fighting plans by National Grid and Scottish Power to build pylons, wind farms and a hub in Mid Wales.

Up to 3,000 people attended 28 public events staged by Scottish Power earlier this year on plans to connect 700MW-plus of new renewable energy generation from 10 proposed windfarms in Mid Wales.

The company asked for opinions on a number of corridors between 0.5km and 4.0km wide for the required 132kV connections.

They took into account National Grid’s consultation on two potential sites for a hub substation, where the power lines would connect in to.

Two sites – at Abermule, near Newtown and Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion – have been suggested for the hub.

A preferred route it due to be announced in early 2012, possibly in February.

More consultation will then be held with the public.

By Andrew Morris

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Comments for: "Shock at claims on wind farms tourism impact"

Peter Evans

Just wondering if the 'reports' have taken into account the recession?

Bill

Carwyn Jones should talk to the people around wind farms who have seen tourist investment evaporate like the morning mist.

Would he invest in a tourist business next to a forest of noisy 410 ft high wind turbines?

C Parkes

I love to see these turbines, kids love to see them too, doesn't put us off, we all know we need some renewable energy, much rather see these than gas / coal plants.

Bill

The only problem with your point is that even with the full planned wind build National Grid say we still have to build 8 new nuclear and 36GW of new gas-fuelled power stations in order to provide the base load power that keeps the lights on.

Wind is aparallel system with a well proven tendency not to provide significant amounts of power when it is needed.

On 7 December 2010, when the UK recorded its fourth highest load (demand) of 60,050 MW, the UK wind fleet, with c. 5,200 MW headline capacity, was producing only 300 MW.

At that time the largest wind farm in the UK, the 322 MW Whitelee Wind Farm (140 x 110m turbines), was producing only 5 MW, 1.6% of its headline capacity - the headline capacity of 2 average turbines.

Benbow Tom

The only problem with your point is that you imply we have either wind or coal / gas as a choice for our energy generation. There are in fact a plethora of renewable energy options available to the UK - tidal energy, wave energy, hydroelectricty, biomass (from managed woods), biomass (from waste wood), energy to waste including commercial and industrial waste, gasification, household waste (providing it is combined heat and power, solar (photo voltaic), solar (thermal), ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, water source heat pumps, wind turbines (offshore).

There is also the future technologies such as hydrogen and nuclear fusion. If we invest to make our homes and buildings more energy efficient and look at a range of options we won't need to go down the nuclear fission route and we won't need as many onshore wind turbines and will be able to wean ourselves off the dirty powers such (nuclear fission and coal).

One more thing google 'Desertec' to find out what is happening on a much larger Euro-African scale!

Bill

I am well aware of other technologies. The only problem with your point is that I am talking about the reality of what is happening NOW, and what the authorities are actaually doing NOW, not of 'what if'.

I quite agree that it would be more sensible to be spending money on more sensible technologies or simply on improving energy efficiency. We aren't.

Dave Elliott

As a tourist I tend to choose areas where there are wind farms- it shows a progressive attitude and I like to visit them. A inspiring sight.

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