Mountaineers Back Research Showing Visitors Put Off By Wind Farms

Sunday 4th November 2012

Press Release    4th November 2012

Mountaineers Back Research Showing Visitors Put Off By Wind Farms

Trust Survey Supports MCofS Call for Landscape Protection

SCOTLAND’S mountaineers have expressed deep concern for the future of the tourism industry following new research into attitudes towards wind farms.

A John Muir Trust / YouGov poll shows that 43% of UK citizens, including 36% of Scots, are less likely to visit a scenic area with lots of wind turbines.

This comes after First Minister Alex Salmond recently claimed that wind farms do not negatively impact Scotland’s scenery and that they actually enhance the appeal of Scotland as a country. However, just 2% agree with him and say they are more likely to visit to an area of natural beauty with large numbers of turbines.

The JMT results show a widespread demand (40% in the UK and 37% in Scotland) for government to prioritise wild lands over wind farms.

David Gibson, MCofS Chief Officer, said: “This research from a highly respected environmental charity, undertaken in conjunction with YouGov using a robust methodology, is very welcome but the results are unsurprising. The Scottish Government is clearly out of touch with public opinion and must wake up to the dangers we face from the industrialisation of our wild and beautiful landscapes.

“Our national economy and many jobs in fragile communities depend heavily on the tourists who come here to enjoy our magnificent landscapes. The Scottish Government simply cannot afford to drive people away through its lack of leadership on this issue. It must take immediate action to end the blight that comes from allowing large power companies to build wind farms in unsuitable places.”

Stuart Brooks, chief executive of the John Muir Trust said:

“It’s heartening to see that a significant number of people from all across Britain agree that wild land is important and should be protected. John Muir Trust members, like those of the MCofS, love wild places and understand their value to people’s lives. This poll shows that we are not alone. Wild land is a precious and diminishing resource throughout the world. We desperately need to ensure we don’t lose any more of it.”

The MCofS, which has 11,400 members, recently published a manifesto, Protecting our Mountains. This is backed by the 75,000-strong British Mountaineering Council (representing England and Wales), the Munro Society, the Cairngorms Campaign and the North East Mountain Trust (NEMT).

The manifesto does not oppose wind farms but seeks a new national renewables spatial planning policy to determine where wind farms can and cannot be built. It also calls for a moratorium on further wind farm developments in areas of special sensitivity, such as the Munros and Corbetts which are Scotland’s highest peaks.


About the MCofS

  • Contact David Gibson 07845 919 150 or davidg@mcofs.org.uk or call 01738 493 947 in normal office hours.
  • The MCofS represents, supports and promotes Scottish mountaineering. Founded in 1970 by the Association of Scottish Climbing Clubs, MCofS is the only recognised representative organisation for hill walkers, climbers and ski-tourers who live in Scotland or who enjoy Scotland’s mountains.
  • The MCofS also acts for members of the BMC or British Mountaineering Council on matters related to Landscape and Access. The organisation provides training and information to mountain users to promotes safety, self-reliance and the enjoyment of our mountain environment.
  • MCofS has 11,400 members, representing hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers, funded through a combination of membership subscriptions; non-governmental grants; and investment from sportscotland, which supports public initiatives and services in mountain safety, mountain weather information services, mountain leader training and the development and promotion of mountaineering activities. MCofS is a not for profit company limited by guarantee and incorporated in Scotland. Company number SC322717.
  • For further information about the MCofS and for our manifesto, Protecting our Mountains: The MCofS Manifesto on Onshore Wind Farms, see lps.asp
  • For further information about the John Muir Trust visit http://www.jmt.org/