Common Planning concerns

Although most people are in favour of developing more renewable energy in the UK, on certain occasions, local development has proved controversial.

Although most people are in favour of developing more renewable energy in the UK, on certain occasions, local development has proved controversial. There are many reasons why this has been the case in the past, and the main reasons concern the visual and noise impacts created by very large scale wind farm developments in upland rural areas. Research suggests that people are more likely to support a local wind farm if it is small rather than large, when they have had a chance to see and experience a wind farm themselves, and when they have some stake in the development – perhaps as members of a partnership or co-operative organisation that benefits from development.

Consultation with the local community is a crucial process in any wind energy scheme. Some objections may be raised out of fear of the unknown, and there is evidence to show that hostility to wind turbines is strongest at the planning stage. People often become more supportive once they are up and running. Even so, communication and consultation are crucially important at the planning stage. A wind turbine does have an impact on people’s lives; their concerns need to be respected and addressed constructively.