An anti-wind farm group is claiming tourism jobs are under threat because of proposed turbines in the region.
Borders Network, which opposes the “inappropriate” siting of wind turbines, makes its claims based on university and other studies, including a private sector survey last year.
Some of the studies show tourism spend is likely to be redistributed away from areas with higher than average numbers of turbines, which will have an impact on employment, say the campaigners.
Lilliesleaf’s Jane Cameron, of Dimpleknowe holiday cottage and golf course, said: “I am in favour of seeing some renewables in our energy mix, but that doesn’t mean we have to flood the landscape with massive wind turbines that deter visitors.
“If people know the Borders is being spoilt, they will go somewhere else. The industrialisation of our countryside will inevitably be at the expense of sustainable jobs in tourism.’
Last year Ruberslaw Wildwoods Camping near Denholm surveyed 45 Teviot Valley tourism businesses, finding nearly two thirds of the 29 respondents referred to the intrusive nature of wind turbines on the landscape. The study also revealed concerns about the 48 large turbines proposed at Cummings Hill, Birneyknowe, Whitton and Windy Edge in the Carter Bar panorama.
Borders Network’s Mark Rowley said: “Borders wind farms already produce nine times as much electricity as is needed by our homes. We have done our bit for climate change. Now we need to conserve and enhance what’s left of our biggest asset, our landscape.
“We need to ensure that our visitor spend – most of which stays in the Borders economy, unlike wind farm profits – continues to grow and create business and employment opportunities.”
A council spokesman said: “The economic impact of wind energy developments has been the subject of recent work commissioned by SBC. The conclusions of that work will be published shortly.”