Wind park impact on rural economy
Research shows that in the UK for an average 75% of the visitors, the quality of the landscape and countryside is the most important factor in choosing a destination. Between 47% and 75% of visitors felt that wind turbines damage the landscape quality. In North Devon for instance turbines would deter 11% of visitors, at a cost of £29 million and the loss of 800 jobs. Because of the multiplier effect, a reduction of visitors can have farreaching consequences for the overall regional economy, a fact richly illustrated during the Foot and Mouth crisis. The evidence shows that not only tourism but in some areas, 49% of all sectors of rural businesses experienced a negative impact.
It is being argued that the current trend towards high levels of wind energy development onshore presents an unacceptable threat to rural businesses and runs counter to almost all other aspects of Government policy relating to the rural economy. This has important implications when assessing the overall cost-benefit equation of the current renewable energy policy.