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Walkers' Survey

This questionnaire was developed to ascertain the views of walkers to the very significant growth in planning applications and construction of Wind Factories within the UK and in particular a large number of upland areas in Northern Britain.

The questionnaire results were analysed by SCSupport Ltd and we are now plesed to publish the consolidated results.

Some initial facts
The terminology Wind Factory is now taking over from Wind Farm but applies to the same concept.

The general size of the wind turbines now being planned has increased in all aspects of power generation, mast height and blade length. Applications are now being received for 3 MW units mast heights of 70 metres and blade lengths of 42 metres giving an overall height from base to tip of 112 metres.

Even with all the may applications now being received for wind factories the UK is unlikely to reach its declared target for renewable energy resulting in pressure on more wind factories, nuclear generation and other forms of non carbon generating electricity.

Wind Farm Survey Results.
The response would have to be acknowledged as being disappointing and we would not feel sufficiently confident to use these consolidate results in any lobbying or formal response to consultation relating to Wind Farm generation. The results can only be taken as indicative of how walkers might respond.

The respondents were made up of 50% Scottish, 33% from other parts of the UK and the balance from Ireland. Over 80% came from the 30 to 59 years age group and they were predominantly male.

83% stated that they had been walking within 2 km of a wind farm installation but that none had gone to visit a visitor attraction wind farm so far. About a third thought they would in future make such a visit.

The next section looked at the respondents’ knowledge of wind farm generation and they had the following views:

  • Two thirds of the survey thought that it would be more expensive to generate electricity with wind power to that of fossil fuels
  • The percentage of time wind turbines can generation was thought to be as follows:
    • In the band up to 25% - 40%
    • 26% to 50% - 20%
    • 51% to 75% - 40%
Could turbines generate at all wind speeds above the minimum threshold, a third though they could, the balance thought they could not.

The respondents also thought that there was a temperature threshold within which the turbines could generate. This created a slightly skewed distribution with only 7% thinking it would work at under 0 degrees centigrade and about 15% believing they could work above 25 degrees C. Every respondent thought they would operate in the 10 to 24 degree range and approx 85% believed they would operate in the 0 to 9 degree range.

Noise from the turbines was evaluated.
At a point of 0.5 km from the turbine the noise levels were though of as being as follows:

  • 60 dB(A) – 33%
  • 35 dB(A) – 50%
  • 20 dB(A) – 17%
At a 1 Km distance:
  • 60 dB(A) – 0%
  • 35 dB(A) – 34%
  • 20 dB(A) – 66%
The impact on walkers of turbine was assessed and this produced a range of reaction based on the distance from the closest mast.
Slightly over 15% indicated that they would be neutral in terms of walking in the area regardless of how close they were. In the distance up to 0.5 Km about 50% thought that they would be adversely influenced and would not want to return, while in the range 0.5 to 1 km the figure dropped to 33% thinking they would not return and that the experience would be adversely affected. When the route was over 5 km from the wind farm there was a belief by about a third of the respondents that this might indeed be an attraction to the walking experience.

The most concerning issues in reaching the above decisions varied quite significantly and some found it difficult to rank them in order of importance. The analysis would suggest however that the following were the consolidated rankings starting with the most important concern down to the least.

  • Interruption of views
  • Introduction of maintenance personnel and access roads
  • Noise from turbines
  • Connecting power lines
  • Safety concerns
  • Flicker / strobe effect of blades
In terms of access from the area of the walk influenced by the wind turbines the unhappiness generated by temporary exclusion was most severe when it was related to exclusion based on strong winds, frosting on the blades and for reasons of maintenance with 80% claiming an exclusion of a matter of days would be unacceptable.
The high wind exclusion attracted the greatest resentment with 20% suggesting they might never return to the area again if this occurred. There was a much greater tolerance to exclusions if it related to planned construction or decommissioning.

Finally close to 70% indicated that their views on a wind farm experience would be used to influence other walkers.

We would want to thank all who responded to the questionnaire.

Although the survey results have now been analysed and our commitment to respond fulfilled, we would not discourage anyone else from still completing the on-line questionnaire below. As wind factories/farms will remain a contentious issue for many years to come any fresh views would still be useful.

Please provide the following information

Name (not to be disclosed to any third party)

Address (not to be disclosed to any third party)

E-mail address if different to the one presently being used

All the following data will only be available in a consolidated format.



Age range

Up to 29     
30 to 59     
60 and over

Have you ever walked on a path that is within a distance of no more than 2 km of a wind factory?


Have you ever been to a wind factory installation as an interested individual?


Would you travel to a wind turbine installation if it were set up as a visitor attraction?


We would like to gauge the accuracy of individual’s perceptions on wind turbines by asking you to select a "yes" or "no" response or to select one number from the options to the following statements.

Does wind generated electricity cost more or less to produce to the cost of focal fuel generated electricity?


What percentage of the time can the average wind turbine generate power over a period of a year?

Up to 25     
25 to 50     
51 to 75     
76 and over

Excluding days when there is insufficient wind to power the turbines, can the units generate power at all other wind speeds?


At what temperatures can the turbines be operated (check all that apply)

Below 0C      
0C to 9C       
10C to 24C   
25C and over

What is the equivalent level of noise that you would experience when walking at a distance of 0.5 km from the nearest turbine?

What is the equivalent level of noise that you would experience when walking at a distance of 1 km from the nearest turbine?

This section seeks to determine your views on the impact of a wind factory at varying distance from your walking route.
For each of the following distances between the turbines and the walking path please select the comment that best reflects your view.

100 - 250 metres

250 – 500 meters

500 – 1000 meters (1Km)

1-2 Km

2 –5 Km

Over 5 Km

Now please rank the issues in order of importance that have influence your decision to the above.

A- Interruption to the views from the walk
B- Noise from the turbines
C- Flicker / strobe effect of the blades
D- Safety concerns
E- Access roadways & maintenance personnel
F- Connecting power lines

What are your views on the potential for disruption to a walking route under the following conditions.

Construction Period

Routine Maintenance

Periods of high winds

Periods of freezing weather


Would you be likely to influence other walkers with your views if you experienced turbines on a walking route?


Thank you for taking part.

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