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Locating 'power' in wind power planning processes: the (not so) influential role of local objectors


  • Mhairi Aitken
  • Seonaidh McDonald
  • Peter Strachan


There have been conflicting accounts of the role and influence of local opposition within planning application outcomes for wind power developments. There is an expanding literature that considers public responses to proposed renewable energy developments and much of this suggests that public opposition is a key factor in the slow growth in renewable energy capacity. However, this paper will show that local opposition groups' power over such planning processes is very limited, and in fact extends only so far as delaying an outcome. Through a thematic content analysis of objection letters to one particular proposed wind power development, the key issues raised in connection with the development will be highlighted. Subsequently, these issues will be compared with those discussed in the official report of the planning appeals process, and it will be shown that the concerns of local objectors had little influence over the eventual verdict.

Suggested Citation

  • Mhairi Aitken & Seonaidh McDonald & Peter Strachan, 2008. "Locating 'power' in wind power planning processes: the (not so) influential role of local objectors," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 777-799.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:51:y:2008:i:6:p:777-799
    DOI: 10.1080/09640560802423566

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    Cited by:

    1. Aitken, Mhairi, 2010. "Wind power and community benefits: Challenges and opportunities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 6066-6075, October.
    2. Lauf, Thomas & Ek, Kristina & Gawel, Erik & Lehmann, Paul & Söderholm, Patrik, 2018. "The regional heterogeneity of wind power deployment: An empirical investigation of land-use policies in Germany and Sweden," UFZ Discussion Papers 1/2018, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    3. Kaldellis, J.K. & Kapsali, M. & Kaldelli, El. & Katsanou, Ev., 2013. "Comparing recent views of public attitude on wind energy, photovoltaic and small hydro applications," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 197-208.
    4. Ottinger, Gwen & Hargrave, Timothy J. & Hopson, Eric, 2014. "Procedural justice in wind facility siting: Recommendations for state-led siting processes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 662-669.
    5. Bidwell, David, 2013. "The role of values in public beliefs and attitudes towards commercial wind energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 189-199.
    6. Haggett, Claire, 2011. "Understanding public responses to offshore wind power," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 503-510, February.
    7. repec:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:201-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:enepol:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:807-816 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Pepermans, Yves & Loots, Ilse, 2013. "Wind farm struggles in Flanders fields: A sociological perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 321-328.
    10. repec:eee:enepol:v:128:y:2019:i:c:p:253-266 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Leibenath, Markus & Wirth, Peter & Lintz, Gerd, 2016. "Just a talking shop? – Informal participatory spatial planning for implementing state wind energy targets in Germany," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 206-213.
    12. repec:eee:appene:v:226:y:2018:i:c:p:353-364 is not listed on IDEAS

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    renewable energy; power; planning; objections;


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