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Most holidaymakers don't mind wind farms - some even like them

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 04, 2013

With the A39 running through the centre of the photo, Cornwall's Morwenstow wind farm (3 turbines) with solar farm at Eastcott and, in far distance, Fullabrook wind farm (22 turbines) at Braunton, Devon. Picture by Peter Glaser

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Wind and solar farms have become an accepted part of

the Cornish landscape and can even enhance holidays, a new survey says.

The study was commissioned by South West green electricity supplier Good Energy, the owner of the UK’s first commercial wind farm at Delabole in Cornwall.

It comes after the Western Morning News reported that wind turbines would soon outnumber church spires as the iconic landmark in the Westcountry.

The detrimental effect on tourism is one of the main reasons cited by landscape campaigners who oppose the proliferation of turbines.

But the research, believed to be the first of its kind and conducted during August, found that, for the majority of visitors, the presence of wind and solar farms in the Duchy had no impact on their visit.

Asked whether the presence of wind and solar farms would make a difference to their decision to visit Cornwall again, more than nine out of ten (94%) said they would make no difference whatsoever.

Some 4% said they would actually encourage them to visit again and 2% said they would be less likely to visit again as a result.

David Bryans, general manager at Land’s End, said the survey findings were in line with his experience. “Our visitors have to travel through Cornwall to reach us, so they pass a number of wind turbines on the way but not once have I had it raised as an issue,” he said.

The independent research was carried out by the Exeter-based South West Research Company and involved 200 hours of face-to-face interviews with 1,007 holidaymakers at six holiday locations across Cornwall.

Jeremy Varcoe, of conservation group Cornwall Protect, said the fact the study had been commissioned by an energy firm “severely” damaged its credibility. However, he also said surveys by “anti” groups were often skewed and called on Cornwall Council to include an assessment on the effects of tourism as part of its planning process for schemes.

“The majority of the people surveyed are probably urban dwellers who are usually in favour of wind turbines,” he added. “There is evidence that bed and bed and breakfast businesses close to turbines have fewer customers.

“It only affects people when it comes to a choice between somewhere with a turbine and somewhere without one – and then I believe the answer would be very different.”

Surveys were carried out on a random basis along the seafront or beach areas at Padstow, Perranporth, Tintagel/Trebarwith, Widemouth Bay, Newquay and Penzance.

Just over a third (35%) of visitors were aware of solar farms in Cornwall, of whom 71% said their presence had no impact, 22% said there was a positive impact and 7% said they had a negative impact.

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, said wind and solar could secure power, cut bills and create jobs without “any significant impact on tourism”.

The full report is available at goodenergy.co.uk.

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  • Prodigal  |  November 07 2013, 12:10PM

    Yougov Poll November 2012: ◦43% of Brits who visit scenic areas in the UK for their natural heritage and beauty would be less inclined to visit a scenic area with a large concentration of wind farms, compared to only 2% who say they would be more likely to visit these areas and 48% who think it would not make a difference to them. More details on their website: http://tinyurl.com/ovqtkq8 So there you have it. Clearly Yougov is more credible than Goodenergy in this context.

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  • didifonstone  |  November 06 2013, 4:58PM

    Good Energy have omitted to say that in a survey at their meeting in Week St Mary, North Cornwall, on September 4th 2013, 96% were opposed to their proposal to build eleven 410 foot tall wind turbines. 228 people completed the exit survey: 219 no to the development, 2 yes, 7 declined/undecided = 96% no.

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  • IvorWard  |  November 05 2013, 11:58PM

    From the Survey report: ""Whilst there were little significant differences in the results according to interview location, visitors interviewed at Tintagel/Trebarwith and Widemouth Bay showed the highest levels of positivity towards renewable energy and those in Penzance and Perranporth the highest levels of negativity, albeit still very small proportions."" Could that be because there are no windfarms at Tintagel/ Trebarwith and Widmouth bay but there are windfarms at Padstow(Bears Down=16 turbines) and Perranporth (Carland Cross = 10 turbines}, and of course you drive past every wind folly in Cornwall on the way to Penzance. 182 people interviewed at Tintagel where there are no wind farms (yet) and 175 interviewed at Widemouth Bay where there are no wind farms (yet). 357 interviewees out of 1,007. It is a bit like asking me if the tin mine at Dalcoath would affect my holiday when I have not seen it for 30 yers (Cornish for years)

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  • johndavies  |  November 05 2013, 10:59PM

    A survey !!… now there's something we can believe in !!! It was commissioned by a wind turbine company….what results would you expect ??? I'm old enough to remember 'independent surveys' ( commissioned & paid for by big tobacco ), where 90% of doctors agreed smoking was harmless. If you ask 100 people - "Is being exposed to nuclear radiation a good thing ? Yes or No " You will get 99% NO. BUT If you select your respondents & ask 100 cancer patients You will get 99% YES Trouble is we don't know the survey methodology, all we do know it was carried out on behalf of a company trying to install wind turbines. Remember the "97% of ALL scientists agree in AGW" survey …. The lie that the greens keep quoting, - From a total of 61,000 earth scientists, 10,257 were selected for the survey. Of these 3,146 responded. 3,095 responses were deemed to be unsuitable, leaving 77 people in the survey. Of these, 75 (97%) thought that humans contributed to climate change. Actually, 75 of 61,000 members = 0.12%. • 75 of 77 equals 97.40% • 75 of 3,146 is 2.38%. • 75 of 10,257 contacted is 0.73%. • 75 of 61,000 members is 0.12%. So at best, the data supports only 2.38% agreeing Global Warming is manmade ... although the figures suggest it's less than 1%, hardly a consensus !! See more - http://tinyurl.com/bmj9my9

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  • Doitdreckley  |  November 05 2013, 5:55PM

    I agree with Wringer to a point but some schemes such as Ladock and Wadebridge are quite successful for their communities.

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  • wringer  |  November 05 2013, 4:35PM

    doitdreckly. if turbines did ".... provide an income for communities that can then pay for public services or community projects, further employment etc ..." I would feel more positive towards them but the plain fact is they do not. the vast subsidies go to the landowner and the companies often from outside of cornwall who install the turbines and panels. these turbines and panels are all made elsewhere often abroad. the crumbs from the table are the blood money that planning officers ask the landowner/turbine installers to give annually to the local community to recompense for these things. this amounts to a few thousand a year - not even enough to employ the parish clerk let alone pay for services or community projects!! I want people to have more of their own money in their own pockets to spend in their own local communities by taking the subsidy off of the energy bill and giving it to them to spend. circa £150 per head is quite a lot when you add it up across cornwall.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  November 05 2013, 1:35PM

    If turbines can provide an income for communities that can then pay for public services or community projects, further employment etc then they are an excellent thing. They are much more sympathetic to the environment that the awful looking housing estates sprawling out from Cornish towns or the lines of choking traffic inflicted on us by population growth. As for tourism, it should be the icing on the cake....not the cake.

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  • NanaV  |  November 04 2013, 8:23PM

    I have visited Cornwall for more than 50 years and have enjoyed it beautiful and distinctive countryside but I would not return to an area that was subject to noise and visual pollution of giant wind turbines. Neither would my friends and family that I have spoken to. There may be a place for these giant industrial turbines when a technology has been developed to use the intermittent power they produce and when they do not require huge subsidies to continue operating. Even then they should be in an industrial environment and not in the open countryside. If anyone is interested look at the tourist information coming from Scotland where income from tourism has fallen in areas where wind turbines are sited and climbers are preferring to climb in Cumbria rather than a turbine cluttered landscape.

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  • hensrule  |  November 04 2013, 4:39PM

    Shocking, ill considered headline! As someone who has holidayed in Cornwall in the past with my family I can honestly say there are large areas which I will certainly not be visiting again due to the increasing plague of totally out-of-scale wind turbines. Instead of the previous peaceful, rural scene, we are now faced with a restless, industrialised landscape. Of COURSE, Good Energy would say this, for heaven's sake. They are now probably running scared as the British public is rapidly realising what a total scam these subsidy harvesting monstrosities are. Cornwall is heavily reliant upon its tourist industry and the planners and developers are either extremely arrogant or incredibly naïve if they think visitors will keep coming back if this carries on. Stop taking us, and our money for granted. We can easily opt to holiday elsewhere.

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  • jigs-7  |  November 04 2013, 4:22PM

    This is a biased report and of course Green Energy would give us yet more information that is incorrect in their quest to spoil Cornwall - I don't know why I'm wasting my time commenting on such a silly statement! These generators now litter our county and I have directly heard from many tourist that they will never come back because of it.

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