VisitBute, the island’s tourism and marketing group, has added its voice to the growing chorus of opposition to the proposed Ascog Farm wind turbines.
Leo Plaster contacted The Buteman with a statement on the subject which we reproduce in full as follows.
“visitBute is the organisation which acts as the community representative for tourism on the Isle of Bute. It has a total of 92 members and stakeholders at present.
“In response to a series of representations about the wind turbines at Ascog Farm, visitBute surveyed its members to ascertain their views as to the perceived impact on tourism from the proposed development.
“The question posed was ‘What impact do you think the proposed wind turbines at Ascog Farm will have on tourism on Bute?’
“Seventy per cent thought they would have a negative impact, 26% thought they would have neither a positive nor negative impact and 4% thought they would make a positive impact.*
“There is clearly conflicting evidence about the impact that wind turbine developments have on local tourism. Visit Scotland recommends ‘tourism concerns are taken into account when granting planning permission, and encourages sensitive siting of developments at all times’ (quoted in Herald Scotland Online 21/10/12: accessed 24/11/12).
“According to the Argyll and Bute Wind Energy Capacity Study (2012), undertaken on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council and Scottish Natural Heritage, the proposed development will have a number of significant impacts on an area which is highly visually sensitive to turbines even under 50m high to blade tip. Highly sensitive landscapes are ‘at risk of having their key characteristics fundamentally altered by development’.
“The planning application does not include a specific and quantified assessment of this impact on tourism for Bute.
“There has been no consultation with visitBute by the applicant, or as part of the quoted ‘local research’ in section 13.4.6 of the application.
“In light of these facts visitBute has no option but to oppose the application to site wind turbines at Ascog Farm. This is a unanimous board decision.”
As this article was published, the number of public comments received in response to the Ascog application had reached 486. To view the application, the supporting documents and the comments published so far, click on the link to the right of this article.
*40% response rate; rounded figures.