You quote VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay’s view that the proliferation of wind farms across the landscape of the Borders is not harming the region’s ability to attract tourists (Southern, December 27).
My first reaction was to send the man a sheaf of vouchers for SpecSavers.
Then I remembered – and checked online (for anyone else interested, www.ruralscotland.btck.co.uk/News) – the story about a local campsite owner doing something that VisitScotland should have done several years ago for the benefit of the entire Scottish tourism industry.
Alan Bailey, of Ruberslaw Wildwoods Camping, Denholm, teamed up with the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland to survey those working at the sharp end of tourism – not visitors, office workers or urban dwellers just passing through our scenic areas – to get tourism business owners’ views.
His report made sober reading. It demonstrated just how priceless our landscape is in attracting visitors to the area (and in doing so providing local employment opportunities). And it reinforced the now very considerable concerns that many of these owners have about the impact of turbine creep on their hotel, B&B, pub, caravan and restaurant businesses.
So, Mr Cantlay, may I suggest you read very carefully – and preferably with a new pair of glasses – The Economic Value of Landscape in the Teviot Valley SLA.
What may seem like a minuscule drop in income to a well-paid civil servant may make or break a small B&B business in an area that is at the bottom of Scotland’s average salary level league.
Mike Cantlay is quoted in TheSouthern (December 27): “All the research I have seen so far suggests, by and large, that tourists aren’t particularly anxious about wind farms.”
He then goes on to say: “Figures I’ve recently seen showed that something like 83 per cent of people were not particularly affected by wind farms when it came to going on h oliday.”
Surely then, on his own figures, 17 per cent of people are affected. So is the loss of one-sixth of the tourist business and industry of no consequence to Mr Cantlay and VisitScotland? Perhaps, as chairman of VisitScotland, Mr Cantlay might consider reading and digesting the publications of his own organisation.
In its document, Scotland’s Brand – Views from the UK Consumer, VisitScotland’s consumer research highlights are listed. The first sentence of those highlights is “the scenery, the natural beauty – it was different, a sort of peacefulness”.
Does Mr Cantlay believe these are the characteristics of a wind farm?