Wind energy has not only been promoted as sustainable by officialdom across Europe, it has received broad public approval. In the UK, for example, a high of 76 percent support for wind energy among the public was recorded in a YouGov survey in April 2018 (Harper et al. 2019). Nonetheless, local resistance to onshore wind energy development is commonplace and can be fierce, with objections typically pivoting around landscape impacts, which, it is argued, negatively affect tourism (Cashmore et al. 2019; Ólafsdóttir and Sæþórsdóttir 2019; Silva and Delicado 2017; Gaspar de Sousa and Kastenholz 2015; Rudolph 2014; Aitcheson 2012; Frantal and Kunc 2011; Riddington et al. 2010). This paper addresses this issue through its analysis of findings from research undertaken in 2014 on behalf of Northumberland County Council (NCC) in the UK that aimed to objectively establish the impacts of onshore-windfarms on tourism in Northumberland’s rural hinterland. Drawing on Mordue et al. (2020), we revisit that research and take a more nuanced analysis of some of its main findings, and assess its effectiveness on NCC land-use policy since the research was completed. In doing so, we raise important issues of democracy in relation to: landscape and environment, the efficacy of objective knowledge in local land-use decision-making, and the cultural and spatial relations of clean energy production. Though the paper is built around a UK case study, it speaks to other places and official bodies―in Europe and beyond―facing similar issues.
|Publication status||Published - 10 Nov 2020|