WIndfarms and pylons 'a threat to Shropshire and Mid Wales tourism'

Pylons and windfarms planned for Shropshire and Mid Wales would have a negative effect on the region's tourism industry, a new report claimed today.

WIndfarms and pylons 'a threat to Shropshire and Mid Wales tourism'

Experts looked at other countries where turbines had been erected in areas popular with visitors.

They said tourist numbers had fallen significantly - and warned that any development in Shropshire and Mid Wales could have a similar impact.

The report was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly's environment and sustainability committee amid concerns about plans currently being considered for windfarms in Wales, with extensive pylons coming across the border into Shropshire.

Russell George, Montgomeryshire AM, today claimed the report is proof that the plans should be thrown out.

Mr George said the Mid Wales economy would be dealt a "hammer blow" should plans for the area get the go-ahead.

Powys County Council and campaign group The Alliance, is currently fighting plans to build windfarms in Llanbadarn Fynydd, near Llandrindod Wells; Llaithddu, near Newtown; Llandinam, near Llanidloes; Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth; Carnedd Wen, near Machynlleth, with a 132kV overhead electric line connection from a Llandinam windfarm to the Welshpool substation.

The plans, which would include pylons to link the turbines to the network in Shropshire, are subject to an ongoing public inquiry in Welshpool.

The report looked at the economic impact of windfarms and electricity infrastructure on the tourism industry.

It said "tourism displacement" which has happened in other countries is "likely to be the case in Wales".

The report states that while there were few local case studies, there was anecdotal evidence that showed visitors had stayed away because of windfarms.

It also highlighted that "certain locations" in Wales are more sensitive to windfarm development on account of their outstanding landscapes, types of visitor, limited product diversity and proximity to windfarms and that the more rural parts Powys would fall into this category.

Mr George said: "As I suspected, pylons and onshore windfarms do have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

"The Welsh Government has dragged its feet on this issue for too long and I can understand why they have been reluctant to publish this report; it's clear that this issue must be addressed.

"This cannot be swept under the carpet; its conclusions should be seriously considered and appropriate action taken."

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