Public Conversations about Environmental Issues in Scotland – Wind Farms

04 February 2014

How do people feel about wind farms when they are given an opportunity to learn more about the topic and consider and discuss the issue as part of a group? ECCI's Policy arm, ClimateXChange, is on its way to finding out.

Since October 2013 three groups of 15-20 people have spent two Saturdays together listening to speakers before being asked to discuss, as a group, the question:

“There are strong views on wind farms in Scotland...

“There are strong views on wind farms in Scotland, with some people being strongly opposed, others being strongly in favour and a range of opinions in between. What should be the key principles for deciding about wind farm development, and why?"

The conversations have been run using an approach known as a ‘citizens’ jury’. This lets a diverse group of people discuss an issue with the help of experts presenting evidence and arguments from both sides presented in a calm atmosphere and with time to reflect on the issues raised.

The jurors have been randomly selected by an independent research recruitment company, and represent a cross-section of society in terms of demographics. They did not know the specific topic for the conversations before gathering for the first jury day.

The research is valuable in looking at how we can find new ways of involving citizens when making decisions about complicated issues that may affect them.

The report will be published late spring 2014.

This project is funded by ClimateXChange and involves researchers from four Universities across Scotland; University of Edinburgh, University of West of Scotland, Queen Margaret University and University of Strathclyde.