Publication - Progress report

Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Socio - Economic Assesment

Published: 25 Jul 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

The study reported here provides a high level socio-economic appraisal of the potential costs and benefits to activities that may arise as a result of offshore wind, wave or tidal development within the Draft Plan Options as part of possible future Scotti

383 page PDF

4.7 MB

383 page PDF

4.7 MB

Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Socio - Economic Assesment
C13. Tourism (Inc. Ecotourism, Archaeological Heritage)

383 page PDF

4.7 MB

C13. Tourism (Inc. Ecotourism, Archaeological Heritage)

C13.1 Scoping Results

The results of the scoping assessment are presented in Table C13.1 (Offshore Wind) and indicate whether more detailed assessment is required (Y/N).

Table C13.1 Offshore Wind

North North-East South-West West North-West
Potential landscape/seascape impact on tourism Y* Y N Y Y* Y* Y N Y* N

* Central and high scenarios only. It has been assumed that in the low scenario, spatial planning could be used to avoid landscape and visual impacts

C13.2 Assessment Results - Estimation of Costs and Benefits

C13.2.1 Landscape/Seascape Impacts Arising from Wind Arrays

For each of the SORER regions scoped into the assessment, the proportion of the relevant VisitScotland Region affected by wind Draft Plan Option areas ( i.e. the percentage of the VisitScotland Region within the 'Zone of Influence' of a Draft Plan Option area) is shown in Table C13.2 and Figures C13.1 and C13.2 [29] .

Table C13.2 Proportion of VisitScotland Regions Affected by Wind Draft Plan Option Areas

North North South-West South-West West
Potential landscape/seascape impact on tourism Y* Y* Y* Y* Y*
VS Region* Orkney Shetland Dumfries & Galloway Dumfries & Galloway Western Isles
2012 Tourism Expenditure (£million) 35 14 165 165 58
Area of VS Region (km 2 ) 1,012 1,465 5,435 5,435 3,115
Area of ZOI (km 2 ) 76.53 0.01 6.20 3.30 6.72
% VS Region within ZOI (%) 7.56 0.001 0.11 0.06 0.22

* VS Region = VisitScotland Region

The proportion of the VisitScotland region within the ZOI was then used to estimate the reduction in tourism expenditure as described in Appendix B13. Given the small proportion of the Shetland Islands area contained within the ZOI of the wind Draft Plan Option area OWN2 (0.001%), no cost estimate was undertaken of this interaction as it was considered negligible.

Table C13.3 shows the cost impacts calculated to arise from each wind Draft Plan Option areas in 2023 and 2035.

Table C13.3 Cost Impacts to Tourism Expenditure

North South-West South-West West West
VS Region Orkney Dumfries & Galloway* Dumfries & Galloway* Western Isles Argyll & the Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Forth Valley*
2012 Tourism Expenditure (£million) 32 152.53 152.53 53.33 693.30
Estimated cost impact from 2025 (full operation) - central (£million) .0.031 0.0023 0.0012 0.0015 n/a**
Estimated cost impact from 2025 (full operation) - high (£million) 0.084 0.0254 0.0207 0.0026 0.0054

VS Region = VisitScotland Region;

* It is acknowledged that not all of this VS Region is within the corresponding SORER, however the expenditure data cannot be disaggregated further; ** no cost impact estimate was made for OWW1 in the central scenario as the Draft Plan Option does not lie within 10km of the coastline.

C13.2.2 Landscape/Seascape Impacts and Disturbance From Onshore Operation and Maintenance ( O&M) Facilities and Substations

The requirement for and/or location of substations and O&M facilities is uncertain. It has therefore, not been possible to quantify potential impacts.

The nature and size of onshore components for offshore renewable developments vary. Some developments feature onshore powerhouses with associated buried pipelines potentially crossing the foreshore and immediate hinterland while other offshore devices have integral turbines. A sub-station is needed for all schemes and this will have associated vehicular access with security fencing around the facility also a requirement. Multiple onshore facilities may be required for some schemes.

O&M facilities associated with any of the proposed developments are likely to be small and no larger manufacturing facilities are likely to be located outside of urban centres. In order to gain planning permission any facilities will likely need to be 'in scale' with the local environment.

C13.2.3 Data Limitations

The lack of resolution of the data and the lack of evidence relating to the impact of offshore wind farms on tourism volume and values mean that the estimated cost impacts are relatively uncertain. These limitations are expanded on below.

The VisitScotland regions used to estimate the baseline tourism expenditure values do not align with the SORER regions and as such the baseline values are an indicative estimate of the value of tourism within each SORER. Furthermore, the baseline regional tourism values used in the impact assessment represent all tourism within the VisitScotland regions ( i.e. coastal and inland) and the assessment assumes that this tourism is evenly distributed throughout the region. It is likely that this is not the case and as such the values of tourism expenditure and the impacts on these values should also be regarded as indicative.

The impact assessment has assumed that the expenditure lost within a ZOI is lost from the region and from Scotland as a whole. The Riddington et al. (2008) study on which the impact assessment is based, has estimated reductions in expenditure for its case study areas, which are broadly of a similar scale to draft Plan regions. Thus the assumption that displacement occurs from within a Region is possibly valid, although given the small area of land that falls within the ZOI in each region this is considered to be unlikely. Similarly, the assumption that displacement occurs for Scotland as a whole is likely to be highly conservative, as even in the event that some expenditure is displaced from a region, it is likely to be displaced to other regions within Scotland.

Despite the existence of OWFs in England, there is still no evidence identifying significant impacts on tourism volume and value from these developments. As such, the above assessment has used evidence relating to the impacts of onshore wind farms, although it is recognised that the findings from onshore studies may not be perfectly transferable.

No information was sourced relating to major tourism investment projects in any of the regions scoped into the assessment. As such, the costs calculated do not account for any impacts related to loss of investment.

C13.2.4 Summary

The assessment indicated that the recurring cost impacts on tourism would be greatest in the North SORER, in Orkney specifically. Within the other regions, cost impacts were markedly lower and likely to be insignificant.

C13.3 References

ABPmer and RPA, 2012. Socio-economic baseline reviews for offshore renewables in Scottish waters. Volume 1: Main text. Report R.1905, September 2012.

Aitchison, 2012. Tourism Impact Assessment Report. Appendix 8.1. Llanbrynmair Wind Farm, Volume II - Supplementary Environmental Information: Supporting Appendices. Available online:

Aitchison, C. (2004) The Potential Impact of Fullabrook Wind Farm Proposal, North Devon: Evidence Gathering of the Impact of Wind Farms on Visitor Numbers and Tourist Experience, Bristol: University of the West of England/Devon Wind Power.

Benfield, S and McConnell, S (2007): Marine and Coastal Visitor Management, Public Engagement and Interpretation in Argyll and the Islands: the way forward. Marine and Coastal Development Unit, Argyll & Bute Council, 2007, pp1-145.

Blaydes Lilley, M., Firestone, J., Kempton, W. 2010. The effect of wind power installations on coastal tourism. Energies, 3, 1-22.

Brown, K.M., Curry, N., Dilley, R., Taylor, K. & Clark, M., 2010. Assessing future recreation demand. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.404.

BWEA, 2006. The Impact of Wind Farms on the Tourist Industry in the UK, London: British Wind Energy Association.

Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI), 2005. Guidance on the assessment of the impacts of offshore wind farms: Seascape and visual impact report. Available online:

Joint Marine Programme, 2004. The tangle of the Clyde, why we must reform the management of Scotland's marine environment, WWF and Scottish Wildlife Trust, April 2004, pp 1-16.

Kuehn, S. Sociological Investigation of The Reception of Horns Rev and Nysted Offshore Wind Farms In the Local Communities; Annual Status Report 2003; Elsam Engineering: Fredericia, Denmark, 2005; pp. 1-25.

Ladenburg, J & Dubgaard, A. 2009. Preferences of coastal zone user groups regarding the siting of offshore wind farms. Ocean & Coastal Management, 52(5), 233-242.

Ladenburg, J, 2010. Attitudes towards offshore wind farms - the role of beach visits on attitude and demographic and attitude relations. Energy Policy, 38(3). 1297-1304.

Lambert, E., MacLeod, C.D., Hunter, C. and Pierce, G.J., 2011. The Future of Cetacean Watching in Scotland under Different Climate Change Scenarios - The Changing Nature of Scotland, eds. S.J. Marrs, S. Foster, C. Hendrie, E.C. Mackey, D.B.A. Thompson. TSO Scotland, Edinburgh.

McMorran, R., M. F. Price, and A. McVittie. A review of the benefits and opportunities attributed to Scotland's landscapes of wild character. Scottish Natural Heritage, 2006.

Riddington, G., Harrison, T., McArthur, D., Gibson, H., Millar, K. The economic impacts of wind farms on Scottish tourism. A report for the Scottish Government. March 2008.

Royal Haskoning 2010

RPA & Cambridge Econometrics, 2008. The Economic Impact of Scotland's Natural Environment. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.304 (ROAME No. R07AA106).

Scott, K.E., Anderson, C., Dunsford, H., Benson, J.F., MacFarlane, R., 2005. An assessment of the sensitivity and capacity of the Scottish seascape in relation to offshore wind farms. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.103 (ROAME No. F03AA06).

Scottish Executive, 2006a. Scottish Tourism: the next decade. A tourism framework for change, Report published by the Scottish Executive, March 2006.

The Tourism Company, 2012. The impact of wind turbines on tourism - a literature review. Prepared for Isle of Anglesey County Council, February 2012. Available online:

TNS Research International, 2010. Scottish Recreation Survey: annual summary report 2009. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.395.

TNS Research International, 2011. Scottish Recreation Survey: annual summary report 2010. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.465.

VisitScotland, 2011. Insight Department: Wind Farm Consumer Research: Topic Paper.