What marine environment attributes are most important to coastal residents and how do these influence attitudes toward wave and tidal energy? A photo-elicitation study on the Bristol Channel, UK.

Edwards-Jones, A; Hattam, C; Beaumont, NJ. 2019 What marine environment attributes are most important to coastal residents and how do these influence attitudes toward wave and tidal energy? A photo-elicitation study on the Bristol Channel, UK.. In: MARE People and the Sea Conference 2019, University of Amsterdam, June 25-28.

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Abstract/Summary

The UK Government is committed to a target of 15% of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020. DEFRA’s 25-year environment plan also places a commitment on protecting the UK’s natural capital. To honour these commitments, the energy system needs to be decarbonised, albeit in a way that safeguards natural capital and provides acceptable trade-offs to the public. The marine environment is essential to achieving the UK’s renewable energy targets, with wave and tidal devices among the potential mechanisms for harvesting marine energy. While research has focused on engineering challenges, little is known about the social and cultural impacts of these devices and their public acceptability. This research had three main aims: to identify the cultural importance of the coast, to assess the trade-offs between cultural ecosystem services and a decarbonised energy system, and to reveal perceptions of wave and tidal energy. Three case study sites along the Bristol Channel were selected (Weston-super-Mare, Minehead, and Barnstaple), this area having great potential for wave and tidal energy while also holding environmental and cultural significance, attracting several million visitors annually and housing at least 250,000 people. A mixed-method approach was adopted, integrating photo elicitation and a questionnaire survey involving residents of the study locations. Data from interviews, participant photographs, and extracted survey data were analysed thematically, revealing attachment to place, aesthetic attributes, natural history and recreational use as being of particular importance, and highlighting a generally positive perception of wave and tidal energy development albeit with some clear ideas of acceptable trade-offs and concerns regarding impact on wildlife and the coastal environment. By drawing on data through methodological triangulation, greater depth is revealed about perceptions on what is important for individuals living in particular localities, and how these priority concerns underpin their attitudes toward wave and tidal energy. Keywords: wave and tidal energy; marine; coastal; photo elicitation

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Subjects: Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Sea and Society
Depositing User: Mr A Edwards-Jones
Date made live: 02 Dec 2019 16:37
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 16:37
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/8230

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