Presentation on theme: "Dr Claire Haggett Landscape Research Group University of Newcastle"— Presentation transcript:
1 Dr Claire Haggett Landscape Research Group University of Newcastle ESRC Seminar Series ‘Where next for wind?’Seminar 1: Explaining national variations in wind power deploymentRobert Gordon University, Aberdeen 21st February 2008The social acceptance of wind energy: Current thinking and implications for the futureDr Claire HaggettLandscape Research GroupUniversity of Newcastle3 ThingsWhy people don’t like windfarmsWhy they aren’t necessarily NIMBYsWays of understanding and addressing this opposition
2 Overview Who protests against wind? Why they do protest? How they do protest?
3 Who protests? Individual gap between attitudes and behaviour Social gap between the high support expressed and the low success rateSelf Interest: rational ‘free-riders’Difference between hypothetical collective rationality and individual rationalityDoes not explain opposition from organisationsGeneral principle of ‘Qualified Support’: impact on landscape, environment, humansDemocratic Deficit: the minority who oppose are effectiveKey question not about individuals but about how the minority are able to dominateDecide-announce-defend rationale
4 1) Free riders ‘Nimby’ generally disregarded Largely incorrect Actual causes of opposition obscured, not explainedPeople do not often in the rationale way it suggestsObjections from non-proximate residentsLabel likely to breed resentmentDevalues concernsBroadly used as a descriptor for all protest
5 2) Qualified support Change people’s minds Public deficit modelEnvironmentally awareTake concerns seriously and address thoroughly through research; provide relevant and situated information that people can trustChange key features of particular developments
6 i) Landscape Auchencorth Moss, Midlothian Landscape may be particularly valuableSupport dependant on the plansConflicting environmental aimsAuchencorth Moss, MidlothianValuable because of its beautySir Walter Scott: "I think I never saw anything so beautiful"Site would be visible from Pentland Hills, a designated area of great landscape beauty and containing an SSSIValuable because of its raritySite is visible from the one of the few areas in the UK considered totally unspoiltSite contains one of Scotland's few remaining raised peat bogsValue as national/international assets, not just on a local scaleSo, thinking about the factors that can affect people’s behaviour towards a proposal.Protest may manifest because of the perceived impact on the site in which the development is planned. It may be because that landscape is particularly and innately valuable, rather than because it happens to be local, that forms the basis of concern.For example, the specifics of a development will also be significant here – how many turbines are planned, how tall will they be, and what will the layout and design will be like – what the hydrogen filling station will look like, how big the solar panels will beAnswers to these questions will shape responses to any particular schemeThese conflicting environmental aims’ is an interesting characteristic of renewable energy conflicts. While on one hand such developments are good for the planet, they also have their own environmental consequences. Can these be justified? And who decides?Not about Nimbyism, it’s about intrinsic landscape value
7 ii) The Importance of Place Local social and historical contextParticular siting and local relations crucialPlace attachmentMeaning attached to the social landscapeWho is protesting?Which ‘locals’? What conceptions of the locality?Offshore windfarm off coast of RedcarOpposition group ‘IMPACT: for people living near hazardous industry’Local environments are valuable locallyWhat facilities are provided/problems experienced dependant on local situationSecondly, considering the importance of place, and the local social and historical context of an area is crucial. In Scotland, a windfarm built on a disused factory site was fiercely opposed by local people – who had all been made redundant from the factory.Psychological research has also pointed to the significance of ‘place’ and the attachment that people have to their local environment. Views are developed in the context of immediate surroundings, and any changes to this are a threat to identity. The social landscape has meaning attached to it, beyond amenity or economics.It also needs to be considered which ‘local people’ are protesting against a windfarm – they could be long standing residents or incomers to an area. This may depend on their particular conception of the local landscape; is it for leisure or economic development? A rural idyll or a livelihood? The value that a locality has will determine how developments are viewed.And we’re therefore looking at the importance of considering this as a local issue – in many ways it is a national one, with government targets and so on, but it is usually at the local level that conflicts are played out, when a particular development is announced, and the impact that this has on the locality.
8 iii) Local and Global Local issues not global warming Local concerns and understandingsNational benefits, local disadvantagesNoise: regulations and limits in place (PPS22; BS 4142; ETSU-R-1997)But:1) difficulties of measurement2) rules of measurement3) the experience of noise varies – crucial to understand the local impact on peoples’ livesThe next theme that has arisen is that of the difference between the local and the global. People engage with the ‘local’ not the ‘global’; issues need to have an immediacy in their everyday lives. So, while issues of global warming may be far removed from everyday life, a fear of house prices falling is not.Local people have a knowledge and understanding of their area, and have very real concerns if they believe their lives will be adversely affected; these have to be taken seriously. And while there may be national and international benefits from a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, the proportional reduction in CO2 emissions for each person who lives near a windfarm may be a small and intangible compensation.
9 iv) Control and ownership Locals v outsidersImposition of (inter)national interestsEnvironmental values or profits?Opposition not to a development but the developerFishers and developers: different viewsOwnershipDevelopers: a national resource for national benefitFishers: livelihoods, generational rightsDirect or indirect compensation; necessity or extortionControlDevelopers: ‘bending over backwards’ to consultFishers: very little consultation, inappropriate means, and ineffectiveThis is related to issues about who owns and controls a development – is it the local people, or what are perceived as outside interests, coming in and exploiting the communityFurthermore, heavy handed techniques to educate and persuade people of the benefits of a necessary development may not help. In fact, they are more likely to incite protest than to overcome it. Evidence from Europe and first cases in this country shows that community owned windfarms meet with less dissent than those seen as imposed by distant and faceless corporations. Such companies may espouse environmental values but are suspected of profiteering. Ultimately, people may not be against the turbines, but against those who want to site them.
10 3) Democratic deficit Protest shaped by the planning process Power of the minorityImpact on qualified supporters if concerns are not given a voiceProtest shaped by the planning processForced to act in this wayIssues not responded to within the planning processDecide-announce-defend rationaleLack of communication perfect catalyst for creating oppositionNature of consultation‘Real’ involvement or going through the motions?Conclusions taken into account?Trust, social acceptance, and influenceFairness of outcomes and process
11 ProcessesShift from competitive interest bargaining to consensus buildingRecognising all stakeholders and diverse interestsPremisesUnder what auspices is engagement carried out?Democracy; Expertise; Pragmatism?
12 ProcessesProceduresHow does the character of the decision-making process affect who participates?Eg fishing communitiesWhat kind of process would draw people in who reflect the initial balance of public opinion?Does everyone have the same influence in these processes?Should some have more influence? Eg shippingWho counts as ‘local’?Not homogenousDecisions can divide communitiesHow can a balance be achieved between flexibility and a necessary framework?
13 How do they protest?Discourse: how protesters “present their position as credible, robust and convincing may have practical implications for the outcome of the debate” (Burningham, 2000:55)Avoiding issues of stakeInvoking the global crisis: planet, not profitPeople’s championsBalancing environmental issuesRedefining the nature of the issue: wind ‘farm’Everyone is a ‘David’
14 Implications for the future Different ways of understanding opposition(Support and) opposition is motivated by:Landscape valueIssues pertinent to the local contextIssues of immediate concernRelationships with ‘outsiders’Opportunities for discussion and real involvement available
15 Questions to askIs there local support for the siting of any development, and the specifics of it?Has the application demonstrated an understanding of the local area and the local people?Is the renewable energy development relevant for the community in which it is sited? Are the local advantages? Are there local disadvantages?Is the renewable energy site being developed with a community, rather than being imposing on it?Has full and open consultation and engagement been allowed?What form has that engagement taken?Who has been consulted?Meaningful action?
16 ReferencesHaggett, C. (forthcoming) ‘Over the sea and far away? A consideration of the planning, politics, and public perceptions of offshore wind farms’, in press at the Journal of Environmental Policy and PlanningHaggett, C. (forthcoming) ‘Public engagement in planning for renewable energy’ in S. Davoudi and J. Crawford (eds.) Planning for Climate Change: Strategies for mitigation and adaptation for spatial planners, London: Earthscan.Haggett, C., and Toke, D. (2005) ‘Crossing the Great Divide – Using Multi-Method Analysis to Understand Opposition to Windfarms’ Public Administration 84, 1,Bell, D., Gray, T., and Haggett, C. (2005) ‘Policy, Participation and the ‘Social Gap’ in Windfarm Siting Decisions’. Environmental Politics 14, 4,Gray, T., Haggett, C., and Bell, D. (2005) ‘Windfarm Siting – the Case of Offshore Windfarms’ Ethics, Place and Environment 8, 2,Haggett, C., and. Vigar, G. (2004) ‘Tilting at windmills? Understanding opposition to windfarm applications’ Town and Country Planning 73 (10) ppHaggett, C. (2004) ‘Tilting at Windmills? Understanding the Attitude-Behaviour Gap in Renewable Energy Conflicts’, British Sociological Association Conference, York, 22-25th March 2004ESRC ‘Tilting at Windmills? The Attitude-Behaviour Gap in Renewable Energy Conflicts’ (Environment and Human Behaviour Programme: award number RES )