Report blasts missed opportunities of border crossing’s panorama

SCOTLAND’S tourist industry is missing out on a major marketing opportunity by ignoring the unspoilt panorama at the Carter Bar, according to a report just published.

It claims that Scotland’s failing is in contrast to the coherent management by the Northumberland National Park Authority on the other side of the A68 national crossing point.

The view from the Carter Bar – which is in the Cheviot Hills SLA (Special Landscape Area) – overlooks the Teviot Valleys SLA and the survey questioned hoteliers, B&B operators and camping and caravan site operators between the Carter and the A7.

Ninety per cent of them said they used the scenery when marketing their businesses and 74 per cent said large wind turbines would hinder their operations.

The report was commissioned by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and Wild Woods Camping based at Ruberslaw.

And the authors of the report state: “A major marketing opportunity is being lost by the Scottish tourist industry operating within the spectacularly unspoilt Carter Bar panorama.

“Coherent management of scenic assets, cultural heritage, tourism and events programmes, as provided by the Northumberland National Park Authority, does not exist on the Scottish side of Carter Bar.”

Alan Bailey, director of Wildwood Camping, commented: “The SLA designation [confirmed earlier this year] provides us with a new opportunity to market our businesses as being within a truly special landscape. Our survey shows that the landscape and unspoilt scenery is very important in attracting visitors – as businesses offering accommodation in the area have made very clear.”

The report states: “The large majority [surveyed] believe that large-scale wind turbines in the area would be unhelpful in their efforts to market their businesses and generate new business. None thought they would be helpful.”

David Gibson, chief officer of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said the findings illustrated significant concern amongst tourism businesses relating to the potential impact of wind farms on the intentions of visitors.

He stated: “The findings of other research projects undertaken to date, with the stated aim of establishing the impact of wind farms on visitor intentions, have been cited by both wind farm developers and even Scottish Government ministers as indicating that there will be little, if any, impact on tourism. Unfortunately all the research used to inform such conclusions has been undertaken with little regard to sample size and methodology and is therefore unrepresentative and unreliable. 

“The majority of wind farm developments in Scotland are in the planning and construction process and unbuilt, so the full impact on tourism is unknown. Further independent research is both urgent and necessary before our policy makers can truly establish what the legacy of the rush for wind will be, in terms of its impact on tourism businesses. Any other conclusions, at this stage, are both misleading and disingenuous.”
z Councillors on Monday voted 6-5 to delay a decision on 14 turbines, each 126 metres high, at Grantshouse. Further talks will take place with Banks Renewables on height and layout.

Councillor Donald Moffat claimed the local population was in support of the project, but Conservative leader Michelle Ballantyne believed surrounding communities were split.

Councillor Jim Fullarton added: The greater good of the Borders landscape has to be considered rather than benefits for a few. We welcome reasonable developments in the right place and right scale, but I think this one is too big.”