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Wind power, landscape and strategic, spatial planning - The construction of 'acceptable locations' in Wales

Cowell, Richard John Westley ORCID: 2010. Wind power, landscape and strategic, spatial planning - The construction of 'acceptable locations' in Wales. Land Use Policy 27 (2) , pp. 222-232. 10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.01.006

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A number of analysts have argued that decisions about renewable energy technologies and targets need to be reconciled with the social and environmental contexts in which those technologies are adopted. However, an unresolved issue is how the contextually-embedded qualities of landscape might be represented at the national level, alongside other energy policy considerations like resource availability, economic efficiency and technical feasibility. To explore the dilemmas of this enterprise, this work examines the efforts of the Welsh Assembly Government to develop a spatial planning framework for wind energy. The work examines how particular landscapes became identified as ‘acceptable locations’ for wind farms, and the consequences. Four sets of findings are discussed: the selectivity with which landscape qualities enter strategic planning rationalities, favouring qualities that are formally demarcated and measurable ‘at a distance’; the tendency of the identified strategic search areas for wind to reinforce the degraded status of afforested upland areas; the extent to which the planning framework has rendered certain environmental qualities malleable; and the way that drawing boundaries around acceptable locations for large-scale wind energy development may restrict the scope for future reflexivity in energy policy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Planning ; Wind energy ; Landscape ; Wales ; Siting ; Reflexivity
Additional Information: Forest transitions : Wind power planning, landscapes and publics
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0264-8377
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:36

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