Problem was that the committee looked for evidence. The Renewables Industry uses consultants to write posh reports full of “evidence”. On a one to one basis such as a PLI this is easily rubbished but to a committee made up of mostly believers there is no challenge. On the other side most of our evidence is based on heresay. Problem is that the evidence can only be after the event. We can’t prove visitors won’t come until after an area is trashed. To build this evidence will take time, two to three years. Unfortunately the evidence will be at the cost of people’s livelihoods and lifestyle. Visit Scotland announced a 4% rise in visitors to Scotland last year. That goes to disprove our conclusion that wind farms will damage tourism. Problem is that their stats are a broad brush approach. They don’t differntiate from event tourism, Ryder Cup, Scottish Open, Edinburgh Fringe and ordinary(?) tourism, wildlife, photography, hill walking. In the Highland we are groaning under an avalanche of aplications and approvals but relialistically there are realtively few wind farms in the popular tourist areas, West Coast, Skye, Moray Firth, Loch Ness, Tain and Dornoch. When they arrive as they will in the next few years, it will be desecration and within two years after we will without doubt see some impact on visitor numbers. This is where the precautionary principle should kick in. You cannot repair a lifetime of work building a tourist industry once broken. Pointing to the lack of statistical “Evidence” as a reason to proceed with industrialisation of the Highlands is myopic in the extreme. Tourism accounts for £11bn of inward trade to Scotland employing 265,000 people. Growth forecast suggest that will increase to £16bn by 2020. If the Scottish Ministers have got it wrong, and I suggest they have, the impact on the future of Scotland will be cataclysmic.
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