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The Democratic Deficit in Wind Farm Siting: An interdisciplinary model of community mobilisation around onshore wind farm siting in England

Bray, Agnes (2018) The Democratic Deficit in Wind Farm Siting: An interdisciplinary model of community mobilisation around onshore wind farm siting in England. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Reportedly, a sizeable majority of the UK population are favourable to the use of wind power yet many specific wind farm proposals are delayed or curtailed because of active local opposition, especially in England. A novel and so far insufficiently researched explanation of this paradox is the democratic deficit hypothesis, which argues that if an oppositional minority can advocate their opinion more actively and effectively than a more positively inclined majority then the planning outcomes will not reflect the actual will of the public. The studies in this dissertation were looking at whether or not the relative actions of supporters (i.e. actual numeric majority) and opponents (i.e. actual numeric minority) in relation to onshore wind farm siting projects might be a product of a misperception about the relative numbers of supporters (i.e. perceived numerical minority) and opponents (i.e. perceived numerical majority) within the host communities, and whether this is evidenced by a greater presence of opponent viewpoints within the local news media. The findings indicate that project support was actively delegitimised while project opposition was actively legitimised in journalistic discourse, project opponents were more actively engaged in the planning process than project supporters, and project supporters correctly perceived themselves as a numerical minority group while project opponents incorrectly perceived themselves as a numerical majority group. The relative difference between the two groups’ levels of engagement in the local wind farm siting process can only be partly explained by project supporters’ perceived minority position, yet the reasons for project opposition are related to a general-level dissatisfaction with national renewable energy policies and to objections stemming from local-level impacts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mrs A Bray
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2019 09:11
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 09:11
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22768

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