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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 13:01 GMT
Wind farms could hit tourist jobs
Wind turbines
Ministers are happy about tourism and renewable targets
Wind farms could cost Scotland's tourism industry millions of pounds and hundreds of jobs, a report has warned.

But researchers said the "worst case scenario" was unlikely, as the two different sectors could live together.

The findings were published by Holyrood ministers, who want half of Scotland's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said the report showed aspirations for tourism and green energy were compatible.

The Scottish Government wants to boost the tourism industry by 50% by 2015.

The study, carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University, focussed on the possible impact of wind farms on tourism in Caithness and Sutherland, Stirling, Perth and Kinross, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

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Researchers estimated the likely impact on the local tourism economy by 2015 of all the wind farms needed to meet the renewables target, compared to there being none.

They suggested Caithness and Sutherland could lose 30 jobs and 700,000 and Stirling, Perth and Kinross could be down 6.3m and 339 jobs.

In the south of Scotland, the study indicated the Borders could lose 81 jobs and 1.7m, and 277 jobs and 4.1m in and Dumfries and Galloway.

Jason Ormiston, chief executive of the trade association Scottish Renewables, said the wind farm sector would continue to ensure developments were built in the right places.

He added: "By 2020, the Scottish renewables industry will be worth billions, whereas this report concludes, on a worst case scenario, that the Scottish tourism industry will contribute 4.7m less than it otherwise would have done to the Scottish economy if renewables targets are met."

Mr Mather said of the report: "It provides further evidence to support our approach to progress the right developments in the right location.

"Harnessing our renewables potential, while driving an increase in tourism revenue, will bring sustainable economic growth to all parts of Scotland."

The research was carried out by surveying 380 tourists in the different case study areas, an additional 600 UK and 100 US residents on the internet and using geographical analysis.



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