Does community ownership affect public attitudes to wind energy? A case study from south-west Scotland

Charles R. Warren, Malcolm McFadyen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    319 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper presents the results of a study of public attitudes to onshore windfarm development in southwest Scotland. Specifically, it explores the influences of different development models on attitudes to windfarms by comparing public attitudes towards a community-owned windfarm on the Isle of Gigha with attitudes towards several developer-owned windfarms on the adjacent Kintyre peninsula. The study, conducted in 2006, used a questionnaire-based survey (n=106) to test the hypothesis that community ownership would lead to greater public acceptance of windfarms. It also examined the attitudes of both residents and tourists towards the impacts of onshore windfarms on landscapes and seascapes, including cumulative impacts. The data show that the Gigha respondents were consistently more positive about wind power than were the Kintyre residents. However, the differences were differences of degree rather than diametrically opposing viewpoints. The most significant concerns about windfarms were intermittent production and visual impact, but majorities in both areas nevertheless regarded their visual impact as positive. The data also indicate that local attitudes could become even more positive if future windfarms were owned by local communities. The fact that the residents of Gigha have affectionately dubbed their turbines 'the Three Dancing Ladies' is indicative of the positive psychological effects of community ownership. These results support the contention that a change of development model towards community ownership could have a positive effect on public attitudes towards windfarm developments in Scotland. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)204-213
    Number of pages10
    JournalLand Use Policy
    Volume27
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

    Keywords

    • Windfarms
    • Scotland
    • Attitudes
    • Community ownership
    • Gigha
    • RENEWABLE ENERGY
    • GREEN ELECTRICITY
    • CARBON-REDUCTION
    • LAND-REFORM
    • POWER
    • ACCEPTANCE
    • POLICY
    • PERCEPTIONS
    • POLITICS
    • OUTCOMES

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