- Near-shore wind power - protected seascapes, environmentalists' attitudes, and the technocratic planning perspective
- Land Use Policy
- Volume | Issue number
- 27 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In contested wind farm developments, the dominant issue concerns scenic impact and the landscape at the proposed site. The number of large wind power schemes that have failed is growing. The case analysed here is a near-shore wind farm in the Dutch part of the Wadden Sea, in 2001 the largest wind project (278 MW) ever proposed in the Netherlands. The government refused to negotiate with civil society organizations representing various landscape values, primarily with the WaddenVereniging and its allies. The often suggested idea that siting wind farms offshore could solve the problems encountered onshore is naïve and far too simple. Siting issues offshore are just as relevant as onshore, as this case study illustrates. As most current offshore developments, the case concerns a near-shore development. It would have been highly visible in an iconic landscape. In such cases, the main dialogue is similar to onshore schemes, which is about impact on the landscape, or ‘seascape’, as perceived by the public. The paper provides description of the historical development of the area, highlighting significant scenic and ecological values, as well as cultural heritage and its importance for tourism and the rural economy. The acceptability and the assessment of different qualities in relation to wind farm siting are analysed with a survey among members of the WaddenVereniging, the national environmental organization for the protection of the Wadden region. The analysis reveals that these environmentalists with their strong identification with the landscape, believe that there are suitable sites for wind turbines in this sensitive area. However, the spatial layout that was chosen by the developers was based on a landscape assessment of the governmental architect. This was a highly technocratic, top-down decision that did not take account of the landscape preferences of the public. This decision evoked its opposition, and eventually, the WaddenVereniging succeeded in generating sufficient national political support to scupper this project.
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