The destruction of Rural Tourism


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  • There are strong parallels with the Land Clearances -a part of history when rich land owners exploited the poor so they could get richer - there is clearly a direct analogy with windfarms – those that reap the financial benefits and those who suffer the consequences
  • It was after seeing this map in the local paper in January 2011 that I realised that action needed to be taken, to prevent the destruction of 20 years of developing and promoting tourism in S.W Scotland. Having established a 5 Gold Star and green gold Wolsey Lodge over the last 20 years and being part of the development of tourism in Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, I was not going to stand by and see wind farm developers ruin an area of outstanding beauty, the home of golf, culture, sailing, walking, cycling, gardens and an area with a wealth of local produce.
  • The simple yet powerful vision is to make life in the Biosphere, its buffer and transitional zones better whilst caring for nature. Lives, lifestyles and livelihoods depend on a healthy flourishing environment. Industrialised wind turbine environments provide none of these. People forced to live in close proximity suffer from windturbine syndrome – yet inspite of documented evidence from around the world this government and developers choose to ignore those suffering symptoms. Like asbestosis it will come back to bite them. Many have worked hard to achieve The UNESCO status it can be taken away – this happened in the ELBE Valley in Germany when the area lost its Natural status
  • Funnily enough the map coincides with the very same areas planned for windfarm development as this area has undulating hills close to the prevailing westerly winds and the interconnector to Ireland
  • This latest SNH map illustrates how much of Southern Scotland is designated for wind farm development. Here’s the extract in question from Par 11.1 of the Moffat report on the impact of wind farms on tourism is Scotland 2008:- “As people in the region grow older the area will have to expand its health and social work provision so that these become even more leading activities. It will also need to find funds to expand its (higher) education provision if it is to stop haemorrhaging almost all its teenagers to the cities.The growth in service demand from the elderly suggests that any decline in the tourist sector will have little effect as hospitality services simply move to another set of clients.”. !!!!!!!!!!!!! In Par 14.6 the net impact predicted at the time of the research was -£4.1m and -277 jobs for D&G but the conclusion was that :- “For Scotland it was assumed that the accommodation losses in one area would be offset by gains in other unaffected areas.”
  • The approved and installed is on the right. The applications and scoping are the other 2/3rds. Southern Scotland will become an industrial wasteland. Common sense tells you that tourism will be devastated, not to mention life styles.
  • Some of the best cycle routes in Scotland are to be found in SouthernScotland – the very same areas as the wind farms. 7 stanesAe Forest is at this moment being turned into a windfarm which will link up with the massive Clyde development. Just this weekend visitors returned to the Grey Mare’s Tail near Moffat and were horrified by the view of turbines.
  • Mountain biking is big business in Southern Scotland
  • Walking in Scotland is all about the views. Visitors want to see wild lands, unspoilt landscapes and horizons free from man made structures.The Southern Upland Way will develop into the Southern Industrial Turbine Way as all the applications go ahead!
  • These turbines are seen from all the view points in Ayrshire and my local lobster fisherman says they look even worse from the sea. You cannot believe that these are trees below the turbinesThe very trees we are told by developers will screen the turbines.
  • Hadyard Hill, Mark Hill and Arecleoch are already operational along with Artfield.
  • This is the Three Lochs Holiday Park -Awarded The David Bellamy Gold Award for Conservation, Three Lochs static caravan park is set in the Galloway Forest Park, which is justly renowned for its secluded woodlands, abundant wildlife and majestic mountain scenery. A short drive will take you to the sandy beaches of Luce Bay or the rockbound coves along the coast, an area once famed as the haunt of smugglers and saints.Now up for sale – Who will buy it with all the impending turbinesWho will want to holiday here when the landscape becomes a barren industrial wildernessHow many real jobs will be lost? How much poorer will the local economy be from the knock on effect? How long will it be before the UNESCO status is taken away? This is an example of the Scottish Government going against all democratic rights -The Reporter uses the Routemap and benefit to allow a proposal in an area to be afforded significant protection.
  • Not only does this area have to contend with having its landscapes desiccated, but Dong Energy are applying to erect turbines along the coast. This is an area which relies on recreational fishing. Sharks (SPURDOG) and Tope use Luce Bay as a mating ground. Noise and electro-magnetic affects may modify behaviour of fish and other species and dolphins, whales, porpoises will all be affected. An SNH report shows this area is rich in invertebrates and 3 species of seagrass. This is Blue Carbon and a natural carbon store.
  • The iconic view known to all golf fans around the world from the Ayrshire coastline
  • This is what the golfers and visitors to Turnberry will be faced with if scoping plans go ahead in the next stage of offshore wind.Hoteliers and tour operators have faith that our Minister for tourism would not let this happen. Unfortunately he is the same Minister for Energy and he has created Marine Scotland which is a one stop shop for developers.
  • The damage to the Scottish rivers and lochs from windfarms is substantial through altering water courses, acidic run off, the felling of trees, excessive flash floods are increasingly common. These have degraded instream and riparian habitat, and transported large amounts of potential spawning gravel downstream. The River Cree in D+G is reporting that fishermen are saying that they will not return.
  • For the record the Western Isles section is hopelessly inaccurate.  The large 'approved' area on Lewis is the site boundary for a 2004 application for 133 turbines only 33 of which have been approved. Half of the marked site falls in the National Scenic Area and was turned down following a Public Inquiry in which SNH were one of the main participants, some years ago. The other large red spot is Monan which is a community 3 turbine project and the two tiny spots further north are for the Pentland Road Windfarm, 6 turbines on the SPA and Arnish Moor Windcluster, 3 turbines. Not on the map is over 580MW of other projects including the consented 140 MW Stornoway Windfarm, 250MW Pairc Windfarm (planning), 40MW Muiatheabhal Windfarm East Extension (consented), 108MW Muiatheabhal Windfarm South Extension (Scoping), 42MW Druim Leathann Windfarm (Scoping).  There are also numerous other smaller projects consented scattered across the islands.   Is the rest of the map of the same standard?
  • SNH “Old landscapes" large chunks of moorland which have not been afforested or improved too much and where you can still find the remains of mediaeval farm steadings, rig and furrow, field boundaries, sheep pens etc., alongside even older standing stones and Bronze Age burial cairns, where you can have a real sense of place and of the people who have gone before. SNH have had their consultee status changed so that they can now only object to wind farm applications which are designated special areas
  • Does the Scottish Government have the right to allow the developers a free for all over vast area of our forests?Nearly 60 square miles of forest are already being used for operational wind farms in Scotland. Under the plans, at the current rate, this figure could soar to some 240 square miles and potentially occupy nearly 10% of Scotland's forest estate. 
  • Even before developers get the go ahead they move in with their JCBs which have giant claws. Trees are snapped off close to the base and branches shredded. Any wild life has little chance of survival – all in the name of green energy.This photograph was taken during nesting time in an area close to where the Kilgallioch application is pending. A forestry Commission area leased to Scottish Power without any public say in the matter.
  • Whitelees – a vast desolate wilderness. Bat populations are fast disappearing from areas surrounding wind farms. As bats killed at German wind facilities may have come from places 1,000 miles or more away, and as bats have very slow reproduction rates of only 1 or 2 offspring a year, the study suggests that wind turbines in Germany may well be depressing bat populations across the entire northeastern portion of Europe, in an area perhaps a million square miles in extent.The bats most vulnerable to wind turbine injuries -- which seem to stem mainly from lung trauma from steep gradients in air pressure rather than from collisions -- are migratory species that live in trees.
  • Now claiming 200,000 visitors since they opened. This is fabricated data. Project manager Catherine Walker from Scottish Power told me that they just count everyone that goes through the door! When I was there I went in and out at least 4 times as I was waiting for someone who arrived late. Their staff could walk in and out several times a day
  • Fergus Ewing in his capacity as Minister for Tourism says" 2013 the year of Natural Scotland is an opportunity to spotlight , celebrate and promote Scotland`s outstanding natural beauty and landscapes.......... .............." it will promote the contribution of Scotland`s nature and landscapes to making our country a better place to live, work and visit and help ensure our nature and landscapes are seen as assets which contribute to the Scottish Economy" How can it be right that one person can have a vital job in promoting Scotland`s landscapes to potential visitors while , at the same time destroying that very landscape in the name of green energy. Paula McDonald Regional Director of VS says in the same article " .....ideal opportunity for businesses in D&G to work together to promote our natural assets. This means getting everyone to appreciate the national icons we have on our doorstep and think about how we can take what Scotland does best - scenery, landscapes and natural beauty  - and help put more cash in the till........."
  • Turbines are encroaching on homes, hotels and self catering holiday properties. Crosswoodhill on the A70, a livestock farm on the Pentland Hills is immediately adjacent to the proposed Fauch Hill Windfarm. Over the past 20 years building up a very successful holiday cottage business with 4 holiday cottages crating very happy guests and national recognition by winning 3 Scottish Tourism “Oscars” over the years. 3 self-catering cottages would be within 2 kms. of the proposed turbines. But the 4th one would be a mere 900 metres. The proposed turbines would be 125 metres high. . And there would be 4 of these turbines at 900 metres from Craigengar Lodge. Craigengar is the most recent self-catering house in which 3 years ago life savings were invested to realise the dream of a large luxury house up on the hill, sleeping up to 16 self-catering guests. Rewarded with a 5 STAR quality grading, Craigengar Lodge has also achieved Gold, the highest grading awarded by the Green Tourism Business Scheme. And guests have absolutely raved about it. Craigengar is sited in a field grazed by livestock. The huge picture windows allow guests to enjoy the hills, the open skies, the stretch of water one field away where they can go and fish. Part of its magic has always been the peace and tranquillity. If the turbines go ahead as planned, all this would change. Guests would see a scarred landscape dominated by turbines sited just 900 metres away. But it’s not just visual intrusion. At that distance their ears would be bombarded by the constant noise of the blades turning, audible both inside and outside. Sitting in the fresh air, listening to the sound of birdsong would be obliterated by the sound of turning blades and would no longer be a pleasure. Holidaymakers seeking a rural experience don’t want starkly intrusive turbines on their doorstep, uncomfortable sounds drumming away, and even possible flicker problems. They’ll go elsewhere. I would anticipate business collapse after 20 years of highly successful trading. And the local economy will be deprived of a significant spend in the area by a large number of guests’ staying in cottages on a weekly basis. Within all the documentation produced by the Fauch Hill developers, it’s as though Craigengar Lodge does not exist. It’s not included on any maps they use, it’s not even mentioned.
  • .These areas have been identified as suitable for development. Again the EIA has not been done. As with the effect infra sound has on human’s is being ignored, so is the effect it will have on sea life, many of which rely on infra sound for communication. Most of these developments are coastal, within areas of blue carbon storage and distorting views of seascapes.
  • Conventional Power station is built close to urban centres of population and large power lines are few radiating to sparsely populated areas
  • Turbines are far away from the centres of population that they serve so more large pylons are necessary everywhere
  • What is it now?
  • The cost is too high – too high to the consumer 4.5 pence per kilowatt hour is the generation cost for most energy – with subsidies profit and VAT coal/gas/nuclear 4.97 wind onshore 9.43pence per kilowatt hour/ offshore 14.89 pence per kilowatt hourWe know that wind turbines damage the visual environment, because this is implicit in the fact that the planning rules are normally hostile to industrial scale development in sensitive rural areas. You would not, in other circumstances, be permitted to erect something that looked like a wind turbine in a rural area. Just look at the controversy surrounding, for example, the Beauly to Denny power line. If someone, thirty years ago, had proposed covering a hillside in the Lammermuirs with large steel sculptures he would have been laughed out of court. The damage done by wind turbines is also implicit in the fact that developers now pay into community funds. This is, in effect, compensation for the damage done and recognition that the interests of local people are damaged. The fact that notionally the planning decision is not influenced by such payments, or that they do not do directly to those most affected by them is an exercise in bet hedging - developers and those who support them politically don't want to admit they are paying compensation because that admits the damage, but in practice they are. If you totted up how much has been paid into these funds, then that is one element of the economic damage.However its a very poor measure because the money, as I have said, goes to the wrong people. Restrictions are placed on what these funds can be spent on. They cannot be paid directly to residents. Instead they fund village hall renewals or playparks that are usually not needed (or at least not desired by the people affected by windfarms). So there's a lot of waste there too.There have been a number of pronouncements by estate agents that property values are affected negatively by wind farms (for example Knight Frank in the Borders). We'd need to do a proper survey, but this is also evidence that the visual amenity is damaged by wind farms.Similarly, some local surveys show that tourists are put off by them. Again, these need to be much more comprehensively collated. But the existing evidence showing tourists unfazed by windfarms is misleading. Participants are usually asked misleading questions about whether their future intentions would be affected by windfarms, which invites the answer 'no'. A regions tourism potential is based on the actual experience of visitors over a quite long period of time. It's not going to be fully apparent for many years what damage is done by windfarms on this basis. A better approach is to look at surveys of what visitors value in Scottish tourism and ask whether these are compatible with an industrialisation of the countryside. The answer is, of course, no. Visitors from abroad are here to see ruined castles in wild, romantic settings. It's similarly misleading to rely on survey evidence from local people visiting wind farms. If you love in Kirkintilloch you may well be intrigued by a wind farm as a novelty. That doesn't meant to say that if you're from Holland you're going to appreciate them.Neither evidence form property prices, nor from tourism surveys, nor even from compensation payments will capture the full cost of the damage done. The beauty of views and the sense of peace and quiet in rural settings is a classic 'positive externality' in economists jargon. It has value that is very difficult to measure because it is not fully reflected (if at all) in a cash flow. For example, if someone bicycles out of town for an afternoon his enjoyment will be incrementally decreased if what was once a bucolic valley has become filled with turbines. What is the value of his experience before and after the development? Similarly, someone rents a property and the view is later besmirched by wind turbines. his rent is unlikely to be cut, so how else do you measure the damage done in economic terms. There are actually methods of doing this (or at least coming up with an approximation) but so far there is no sign of the Scottish Government or its agencies trying to come up with them. 
  • Whatever Professor Aitchison’s view on this topic in 2004 when she did her study for Devon Wind Power, thinly disguised as RES, one of the country’s largest developers, or 2007, or 2008 when she did her work for the Scottish Government, it’s time now for her to have a dose of realism and apply common sense. People always have a choice; they can always go elsewhere; and they do not come to Scotland to look at, or listen to wind turbines. Wind turbines are all about earning vast revenues from subsidy.
  • This table shows a comparison across the UK and Scotland
  • Now move forward to last month……
  • This slide shows UK numbers and increase since 2008. You can se that the problem is not a small one, and is showing no sign of receding.
  • And this slide shows the same pattern for Scotland. So in a period of four years, we have <1000 more turbines
  • These are just some of the figures easily obtained. Its still going on – as we speak, Fallago Rig is under construction (48 turbines) so that a Duke can provide a Trust Fund for the children of his second marriage!New REF Database Shows that Coal and Imported Electricity Keeps the Lights On The new application can be found by clicking on the ‘Electricity Fuel Mix Data’ menu item on  Coal fired electricity has increased by more than 30% in the first three quarters of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.  Volumes of electricity imported from France increased by approximately 20%, and from both France and the Netherlands by approximately 65%, in the first three quarters of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.  For a graph of renewable generation on 9 September 2012 see The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) is a charity registered in England and Wales (1107360) publishing information and analysis on the energy sector. REF is not in receipt of state funding, has no political affiliation or corporate membership, and is not a trade lobby.
  • Scotland is NOT an industrial landscapeWe are not a wind resource.For many our homes are our work place involved in tourism.What right does any government have to allow the systematic destruction of such a valuable asset, without showing any correlative benefit.
  • The destruction of Rural Tourism

    1. 1. STA Conference – The Destruction of Rural Tourism in Scotland
    2. 2. A global spotlight is on South West Scotland as a special place UNESCO status granted in July 2012 -One of only 580 Biosphere Reserves Worldwide
    3. 3. Providing a Catalyst for new Economic opportunities, environmentally sustainable development, nature conservation and education
    4. 4. Cycle and mountain biking routes in the Borders
    5. 5. View from the Merrick
    6. 6. Arecleoch These 60 turbines stretch from Ballantrae to Barrhill -
    7. 7. The Scottish Government want to add another 99 turbines (Kilgallioch) 50turbines (Stronoch) to link up with Artfield, Glenchamber and Carscreugh
    8. 8. Glenchamber Windfarm Application
    9. 9. View from Ardwell of Luce Bay
    10. 10. ApplicationsOf the 57 renewable applications appealed to theScottish Government, 51 have been consented and6 rejected.The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents andDeployment Unit is currently considering another42 applications of >50GW capacity generatingstations, including 39 renewables: 2 Hydro, 3Biomass, 34 Onshore wind, plus 2 non-renewableHydro and 1 non-renewable thermal stations. Inaddition to this there are 10 active applications foroverhead lines.
    11. 11. Fishing is worth millions to the Scottish Economy
    12. 12. Old Landscapes
    13. 13. Are Wind Turbines worth having
    14. 14. Whitelees Visitors centre
    15. 15. East Collarie and Turbines
    16. 16. Tourism Surveys• Visit Scotland is treating the survey findings as a political vote - in other words if a majority think windfarms are okay, then they are OK. Rubbish!• In fact with economic decisions every vote counts so if 20% dislike windfarms then thats 20% of revenue potentially lost.
    17. 17. • That was then, this is now..*• * Tourists and Tourism in a Visual World, Prof Cara Aitchison, 6th International Symposium on Aspects of Tourism, University of Brighton, June 2007.
    18. 18. UK including Scotland 2004 Prof Aitchison -- May 2004 UK Scotlandoperational turbines 1070 299turbines in construction 0 0turbines with consent 16 13turbines in planning 31 19
    19. 19. Increase since Aitchison 2008 UK SCOTLANDOperational 2799 1438In construction 1539 548With planning consent 2123 890In planning 3570 1776
    20. 20. Caledonian University 2008 Numbers UK ScotlandOperational 1938 770In construction 0 0With Planning 279 119In planning 509 303
    21. 21. Turbine numbers August 2012 UK ScotlandOperational 3869 1737Under construction 1539 548Planning consent 2139 903In planning 3601 1795
    22. 22. UK Numbers and increase since 2008 2012 Incr ‘08 – ‘12Operational 3869 1931In construction 1539 1539With planning c’snt 2139 1860In planning 3601 3092
    23. 23. Scotland numbers and increase since 2008 2012 Incr ‘08-12Operational 1737 967In construction 548 548With planning c’snt 903 784In planning 1795 1492
    24. 24. One more slide……………No of fossil fuel power stations closed NONENo of homes with cheaper electricity NONENo of windfarms constructed without a fight NONENo of MSPs returned on a pro windfarm ticket NONEMoney needlessly spent on inquiries,challenges,etc £zillions
    25. 25. If ever there was an ideal site for a wind farm! To remind those who sit at Holyrood of what they needlessly inflict on others.