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Dr Claire Haggett Landscape Research Group University of Newcastle

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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 deployment Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen 21st February 2008 The social acceptance of wind energy: Current thinking and implications for the future Dr Claire Haggett Landscape Research Group University of Newcastle 3 Things Why people don’t like windfarms Why they aren’t necessarily NIMBYs Ways 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 rate Self Interest: rational ‘free-riders’ Difference between hypothetical collective rationality and individual rationality Does not explain opposition from organisations General principle of ‘Qualified Support’: impact on landscape, environment, humans Democratic Deficit: the minority who oppose are effective Key question not about individuals but about how the minority are able to dominate Decide-announce-defend rationale

4 1) Free riders ‘Nimby’ generally disregarded Largely incorrect
Actual causes of opposition obscured, not explained People do not often in the rationale way it suggests Objections from non-proximate residents Label likely to breed resentment Devalues concerns Broadly used as a descriptor for all protest

5 2) Qualified support Change people’s minds
Public deficit model Environmentally aware Take concerns seriously and address thoroughly through research; provide relevant and situated information that people can trust Change key features of particular developments

6 i) Landscape Auchencorth Moss, Midlothian
Landscape may be particularly valuable Support dependant on the plans Conflicting environmental aims Auchencorth Moss, Midlothian Valuable because of its beauty Sir 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 SSSI Valuable because of its rarity Site is visible from the one of the few areas in the UK considered totally unspoilt Site contains one of Scotland's few remaining raised peat bogs Value as national/international assets, not just on a local scale So, 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 be Answers to these questions will shape responses to any particular scheme These 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 context Particular siting and local relations crucial Place attachment Meaning attached to the social landscape Who is protesting? Which ‘locals’? What conceptions of the locality? Offshore windfarm off coast of Redcar Opposition group ‘IMPACT: for people living near hazardous industry’ Local environments are valuable locally What facilities are provided/problems experienced dependant on local situation Secondly, 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 understandings National benefits, local disadvantages Noise: regulations and limits in place (PPS22; BS 4142; ETSU-R-1997) But: 1) difficulties of measurement 2) rules of measurement 3) the experience of noise varies – crucial to understand the local impact on peoples’ lives The 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 outsiders Imposition of (inter)national interests Environmental values or profits? Opposition not to a development but the developer Fishers and developers: different views Ownership Developers: a national resource for national benefit Fishers: livelihoods, generational rights Direct or indirect compensation; necessity or extortion Control Developers: ‘bending over backwards’ to consult Fishers: very little consultation, inappropriate means, and ineffective This 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 community Furthermore, 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 minority Impact on qualified supporters if concerns are not given a voice Protest shaped by the planning process Forced to act in this way Issues not responded to within the planning process Decide-announce-defend rationale Lack of communication perfect catalyst for creating opposition Nature of consultation ‘Real’ involvement or going through the motions? Conclusions taken into account? Trust, social acceptance, and influence Fairness of outcomes and process

11 Processes Shift from competitive interest bargaining to consensus building Recognising all stakeholders and diverse interests Premises Under what auspices is engagement carried out? Democracy; Expertise; Pragmatism?

12 Processes Procedures How does the character of the decision-making process affect who participates? Eg fishing communities What 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 shipping Who counts as ‘local’? Not homogenous Decisions can divide communities How 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 stake Invoking the global crisis: planet, not profit People’s champions Balancing environmental issues Redefining 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 value Issues pertinent to the local context Issues of immediate concern Relationships with ‘outsiders’ Opportunities for discussion and real involvement available

15 Questions to ask Is 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 References Haggett, 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 Planning Haggett, 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) pp Haggett, C. (2004) ‘Tilting at Windmills? Understanding the Attitude-Behaviour Gap in Renewable Energy Conflicts’, British Sociological Association Conference, York, 22-25th March 2004 ESRC ‘Tilting at Windmills? The Attitude-Behaviour Gap in Renewable Energy Conflicts’ (Environment and Human Behaviour Programme: award number RES )

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