Economic aspects of the now-withdrawn Helensburgh wind farm proposal
TEG-H has distinguished between the economy of the town (which is a material consideration for planning purposes) and the finances of the wind farm (which is not, but requires close scrutiny since it is the basis of the developers' claim about cash to the town). (For details on finances for the wind farm see the Finance page)
Wind turbines overlooking the town might risk Helensburgh’s future prosperity
Despite recent investment, Helensburgh’s economy is still on the edge
from creeping degradation over past decades
loss of population
“Prosperity through population"= Argyll & Bute Council’s declared new priority Helensburgh is a residential town first and a visitor town second
Its prosperity depends on attracting more people to live, visit and spend here
Local jobs depend upon attracting people to live, visit and spend here
Helensburgh’s population has dropped by -3% over 10 years
The Council’s aim is a +9% increase in population for Helensburgh
Attraction is the key
People will live, visit and spend in Helensburgh if it is made more attractive
Helensburgh’s fine setting is essential to its attractiveness
Improvements are happening (CHORD, more trees, countryside paths network, play parks, Duchess Wood, Hermitage Park, etc. Looking ahead, nearly £10m will be spent on the pier masterplan.)
A power station in the countryside would be a major policy change.
Wind turbines are unattractive to many people
If just a minority get deterred by turbines, that will harm the town’s economy
It is bad economics to counteract ongoing improvements.
Dislike of living near a wind farm
There is research evidence that people do not like living near wind farms. Turbines deter people.
The TEG-H conclusion is that it is better to focus on making the town attractive for people now and in the future. That will increase resident and visitor numbers and bring in much more money than the wind farm. Below is a paper by Professor Andrew Bain on socio-economic consequences of the proposed wind farm.