The Resurgent Conflict Between Offshore Wind Farms and Tourism: Underlying Storylines

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Efforts to put offshore wind farms in place have demonstrated that these are far from being conflict-free, evoking confrontations with a number of stakeholders' interests. One of the most persistent conflict lines refers to the feared adverse externalities on coastal tourism, although tourist surveys and initial empirical evidence seem to reflect the opposite. This paper explicitly addresses this gap and explores how and why certain stakeholders rationalise potential impacts on the tourism economy of coastal communities and, thus constitute the conflict between offshore wind farms and tourism. Based on two cases studies in Scotland and Germany, five storylines are identified that are invoked by local opponents to substantiate impacts on tourism. The paper will show that a particular meaningful construction of the coastal landscape is inherent in tourism and pervades all storylines. It is concluded that arguments of both opponents and decision-makers are embedded in epistemic uncertainty which necessitates a thorough consideration of oppositional arguments in the planning process for offshore wind farms. © 2014 Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)168-187
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Germany
  • offshore wind farms
  • Scotland
  • space-related conflict
  • tourism
  • coastal zone
  • conflict management
  • offshore structure
  • planning process
  • stakeholder
  • uncertainty analysis
  • wind farm
  • United Kingdom
  • OFFSHORE wind power plants


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