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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Tourism row over windfarm
A Greenpeace image of the proposed wind farm from the shore at Rest Bay
Visitors were shown this image by Greenpeace researchers
A row has flared over an environmental group's survey which suggested that tourists would not be deterred by a planned off-shore windfarm.

Greenpeace conducted the poll into the likely effect of the development at Scarweather Sands.

It said a large majority of the 650 people it asked agreed they would return to the town if the turbines were built.

But opponents of the scheme dismissed the results.

Greenpeace campaigner Natasha Richards, who carried out the survey, said 96% of people questioned said they would be just as likely or more likely to return to the resort.

"I am very surprised that a group who claim to be there to protect the environment can support a scheme like this one
Simon Tucker, SOS Porthcawl

"The results of this poll speak for themselves and put paid to the misinformation that has characterised the campaign against the wind farm," she said.

"Support for the project has been overwhelming, and with the reality of global warming now upon us people know it makes sense," she added.

But campaigners from the anti-windfarm pressure group SOS Porthcawl criticised the survey.

Protestor Simon Tucker said: "I was there when they were carrying out their survey and I saw them showing a photo montage of what the wind farm would look like.

"And they were using a mast which has been erected in the waters as a basis for people to see.

Artists impression of the turbines at Scarweather Sands
There are plans for 30 turbines off Scarweather Sands

"But the picture wasn't very clear and the mast is five miles out rather than the three that some of the turbines are going to be and it is half the height of the 440-foot turbines.

'Horrified'

"People feel so strongly about the issue and many are absolutely horrified that these plans haven't been stopped.

"I am very surprised that a group who claim to be there to protect the environment can support a scheme like this one," he added.

The plans by energy firm United Utilities would see 30 turbines 40 ft in height in a 120m project to generate enough electricity for 82,000 homes.

There will be a public inquiry into the scheme.

It follows strong local opposition, including an 8,000-signature petition. Objectors fear the turbines will blight the coastline and ruin its tourist trade.




SEE ALSO:
Windfarm faces assembly inquiry
26 Mar 03  |  Wales


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