Understanding 'local' opposition to wind development in the UK: How big is a backyard?
In recognition of the environmental and economic threats posed by climate change; decisive steps are now being taken to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions. One sector receiving particular attention within the UK is that of electricity generation. As such, the government has introduced ambitious targets for increasing renewable generating capacity within the country. Wind turbines are expected to play a significant role in meeting these targets; however, despite high levels of support for the technology in principle, specific projects are often delayed or rejected on account of local opposition. This study aimed to establish how attitudes towards development might vary with respect to increasing distance from the identified sites. Participants were required to register their opinion towards development at a number of on- and off-shore locations in the UK. The results indicated that participants were most favourable to offshore development and least favourable to development at the identified sites. Attitudes to onshore development indicated that so long as a proposed location was anticipated to be 'out of sight' it was considered in relatively general terms. The results are discussed with reference to site visibility and landscape concerns and clearly support calls for a shift towards community-focussed development strategies.
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