I AM replying to last week’s letter by Ann Ferguson.
During the debate about the pros and cons of windfarms, the anti-windfarm lobby have made a great deal of noise about the devastating impact that windfarms would have upon tourism and the local economy of north Northumberland.
Despite the fact that my family’s hotel is located on the coast near Alnwick, our guests frequently travel up to 30-40 miles away in all directions to see the varied landscapes of our beautiful county.
We concluded that if a proportion of the windfarm applications being made in north Northumberland were successful, our guests would regularly encounter them and we therefore decided to find out what they really thought about windfarms.
We added a section to our hotel customer feedback forms that asked guests questions about the ways in which they valued Northumberland’s environment, including whether the presence of windfarms throughout north Northumberland would stop them from visiting the area.
Only six per cent of guests said that they would be less likely to visit the area if windfarms were erected and two per cent said they would be more likely, the rest of our guests said that it would have no effect whatsoever.
This completely contradicted the argument being proposed by the anti-wind lobby, showing they were flagrantly misrepresenting some areas of tourism.
Public consultations require informed debate. Rather than just spouting our own opinions, we gathered genuine information directly from the tourists who are so important to our local economy and took that information to the discussion.
Ann Ferguson might not find what we said palatable, but it was wholly justifiable and a long way from being ‘perverse’. Could it be that Mrs Culverwell’s guests also feel the same way about windfarms and that she was simply exercising her right to represent their views in the debate?
Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel,