The impacts of onshore-windfarms on a UK rural tourism landscape: objective evidence, local opposition, and national politics

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Abstract

Although the use of wind-turbines is widely accepted as generating clean and sustainable energy, when windfarms are sited in rural areas they are frequently opposed by locals because of their negative impacts, including on tourism. There is, however, little academic research on the role and significance of tourism in onshore-windfarm development disputes. The paper addresses this gap by way of a nuanced analysis of mixed-methods research undertaken on behalf of Northumberland County Council (NCC), UK, on the impacts of onshore-windfarms on tourism in Northumberland’s rural hinterland. We also trace the influence the research has had on NCC’s policy and land-use decision-making practices in the years since the research was completed in 2014, with particular focus on national policy changes enacted in 2016 that gave local communities more decision-making power on the siting of onshore-windfarms across the UK. From here we critique democratic decision-making on the development of onshore-windfarms more generally and consider political lessons learned from this case study that can have resonance anywhere wrestling with the same or similar issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1882-1904
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Volume28
Issue number11
Early online date11 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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