PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND PARTICIPATION IN WIND TURBINE DEVELOPMENT
ALASTOR M. COLEBY
DAVID R. MILLER
PETER A. ASPINALL
Research for this paper was undertaken into the relationship between public opinion on wind power and public participation in turbine site planning and design. The research focussed on the contribution of environmental attitude studies to participatory environmental impact assessment of renewable energy policy and land use. A questionnaire survey was undertaken at wind farm sites at three stages in the site planning process and at three public events where the application of wind power was a topic of discussion. The attitudinal data produced was subjected to a series of statistical tests to determine which of the attitudes revealed could be quantified significantly in terms of public opinion. The most significant responses related to the proximity of wind turbines to respondents' homes with the proposition that wind turbine designers should seek community input of the highest significance. Respondents also indicated a preference for traditional turbine structures that blended in with the landscape and remained out of sight. Respondents' personal perception of land use change regarding wind power near them was mostly significant relative to respondent age with younger respondents tending to be more accepting of wind turbine land use whilst older respondents objected. Living place was also found to be significant with urban respondents more accepting of wind power than rural ones. Fundamentally respondents although polarised for or against on certain issues, all shared a wish for more public input and participation in local land use for wind power.
Public attitudes and participation, renewable energy and environmental assessment
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