Windmills are great if they are somewhere else, say homeowners

WInd farms are expected to become an even more common feature of the landscape.
WInd farms are expected to become an even more common feature of the landscape.

Most people who live near a planned wind farm support windmills – just not in their own back yard, according to a survey for the Dutch association of homeowners.

The Volkskrant reports on Wednesday that in a poll of Eigen Huis members, only 11% of respondents who lived near a proposed wind farm were positive about it.

New sites are planned in Ijsselmeer, the Drenthe peatlands, South Holland and Zeeland. The organisation surveyed 3,660 of its members living within two kilometres of proposed farms, finding 39% did not support the developments and only a quarter did.

The rest were neutral or had not heard about them. More than three-quarters also believed they should be compensated for any nuisance caused by the wind farms.

But 63% of respondents were positive or very positive about windmills as a source of renewable energy.

Rob Mulder, director of Eigen Huis, said that the survey showed the majority of members felt ill-informed from the earliest stages of planning. ‘This cannot continue,’ he said in a press release.

‘Although the government, promoters, developers and environmental groups have an interest in getting the widest possible support, often there is no participation at a grass-roots level. It makes no sense that residents have to go through 4,000-page reports to understand the plans. We want to stop this and ensure a citizen-friendly approach where people feel respected and heard.’

The survey was conducted at the end of February by Marlyse-Research. It invited 19,313 Eigen Huis members to fill in a survey, and had a 19% response rate.

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