NEW research shows a wind park off the Hampshire coast could “devastate” the local tourist industry.
Impact assessments carried out by the developer of Navitus Bay state that up to a third of all visitors could be deterred from holidaying in the area during the three-year construction phase.
Once it is built and in operation west of the Isle of Wight, 14 per cent of visitors say the loss of view would prevent them from returning. They said concerns about noise and the industrialisation of the seascape would influence their decision to stay away.
But Navitus Bay said the research revealed a “degree of optimism or neutrality” about the impact on tourism and said that wind turbines had boosted tourism in some locations, including Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
Mike Unsworth, project director at Navitus Bay, said: “The evidence we’ve gathered has shown that tourism is largely unaffected by projects of this nature and in some instances enhanced.
“We’d like to enhance the region’s tourism offer – which may be through a visitor centre or funding additional tourism resources.”
A survey of local tourism businesses found that 54 per cent felt they would not be adversely affected, 40 per cent felt they would experience a low, medium or high impact and six per cent felt the wind farm would boost business.