NIMBY or not? Exploring the relevance of location and the politics of voiced opinions in renewable energy siting controversies

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Local protests against renewable energy facilities have added fuel to the debate about the so-called NIMBY (not in my back yard) effect. This paper identifies six 'variables' that can hamper the comparison between different public perception studies, and offers two broad conclusions. On aggregate, proximity does have strong influence Oil public attitudes to proposed projects, but the nature, strength and spatial scale of this effect may vary according to local context and 'value' of the land. Residents of stigmatised places are more likely to welcome facilities that are relatively 'green', while people who derive a more positive sense of identity from particular rural landscapes are likely to resist Such potential developments, especially if they also live there. Secondly, the fear of being branded a NIMBY, and the positive ethics associated with the notion of renewable are both likely to 'colour' the responses of many interviewees. These aspects need to be clarified and accounted for in analyses of elicited responses, both quantitative and qualitative, if we are to improve our understanding of the social construction of individual attitudes in siting conflicts. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2705-2714
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • proximity, renewables, public opinion