A poster from one local protest group in the UK.

Exeter Geographer meets New Zealand government officials to present 'NIMBY' research

Exeter Geographer Professor Patrick Devine-Wright met New Zealand government officials to present his research on public engagement with renewable energy and 'NIMBY' opposition in the UK, and discuss what lessons can be learnt for the New Zealand context.

The meeting took place on June 10th in Wellington at the NZ Government buildings. Professor Devine-Wright met with 4 officials from the Environment and Energy Conservation Authority, lead by Sea Rothman (head of research at EECA) and presented findings from his ESRC funded research project 'Beyond Nimbyism'. This research explores how residents' sense of place is affected by technology development proposals. The officials were interested to learn about his research on public engagement with renewable energy and 'NIMBY' opposition in the UK, and what lessons can be learnt for the New Zealand context.

Professor Devine-Wright said “What was really interesting and heartening from my point of view was how the presentation of this novel perspective on 'NIMBYism', and case study findings from the UK, had resonance with debates and controversies in NZ around tidal and wind energy projects. There is an added Maori cultural dimension in NZ that lends credibility to my approach applying sense of place to public acceptance of energy technology projects.”

The meeting was set up by an academic based at the University of Otago, Dunedin, Dr. Janet Stephenson, who has been drawing on Professor Devine-Wright's work in her own research on public acceptance to wind energy in NZ. The meeting has also presented the chance to discuss a future UK/NZ research collaboration.

Date: 1 July 2010

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