Over the course of the last 18 months Community Places and Rural Community Network have been working on a ‘Re-thinking NIMBYism’ project in three rural areas across the region. Adopting a Public Conversations Project methodology, we explored issues surrounding the siting of renewable energy infrastructure in communities which have benefited from renewable energy and in others where there is considerable objection to such proposals.
Often the views of communities to renewable energy proposals are characterised as a form of “NIMBYism” (not in my back yard). We believe this fails to reflect the very real connections people have with their environment. The research explored a range of attitudes and views to major renewable proposals helping to deepen understanding of community concerns and to inform recommendations to improve community engagement. The project drew on the work of Professor Patrick Devine Wright who has researched the social and psychological aspects of the siting of new energy infrastructure in communities across the UK.
The report of the project makes a series of recommendations relevant to planners, political representatives, the renewable industry and local communities and supports a shift towards a more discursive and participative form of planning practice with the aim of reducing conflict, inequalities of power and to inform practical decision-making.