Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

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Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

9 Wind power and the communitySummary• The benefits of wind power are shared by the whole nation but it is local communities that aremost directly affected by wind farm developments• Public attitudes to wind farms in the UK are generally positive and are evolving as more ofthem are built and as realisation of the need for renewable energy sources increases• The involvement of the local community at all stages in the development of sites is key to thesuccess of the project• Local communities may have a number of concerns when wind farms are proposed, includingimpacts on house prices and disturbance during construction; those concerns must be addressed• There are many benefits to local communities from wind farms through rural regeneration,employment and other income• Some communities create a local forum in order to ensure useful and fair distribution of thefinancial benefits9.1 BackgroundWhile wind power can provide renewableenergy and environmental benefits on anational and global scale, it is the localcommunity that is most directly affected bythese types of development. When localobjections arise, development plans can bedelayed. Currently there are delayeddevelopments all across the UK, raising thepossibility that national renewable energytargets may not be met.It is therefore essential that communities arefully consulted and involved when planning newwind developments so that their views can beheard. At the same time, it is important thatcommunities listen to the experience gained atprevious developments, and are aware of thepublic perception data that has been collected.This shows that in most cases the impacts ofwind developments are far less in reality thanpreviously feared, with the greatest support forwind found amongst those who live closest tothe turbines.9.2 Public attitudesThe threats to everyday life in the UK andelsewhere caused by global warming andclimate change are beginning to be becometopics of popular discussion and public concern.Public attitudes to these threats in the UK andother European countries are evolving all thetime. Linked to this, support for wind farms inthe UK has been shown to be relatively stableover time.Table 12 shows a summary of research over thepast 13 years into public attitudes towards windpower.82 Wind Power in the UK sustainable development commission