Island-wide surveys are underway into the attitudes and perceptions of Manx residents towards offshore wind farms.
They have been launched by researchers as part of their study into public acceptability and stakeholder perceptions towards different forms of renewable energy.
Felicity Greenwell, of Willow Research, one of the team of researchers, said: ‘We will gather all responses together to create a report which may be used for academic publication and for interested parties to see.’
The first survey is aimed at all residents aged over 18.
Questions include the perceived impact of an offshore wind development on aspects including shipping (freight and passenger services), property rates, job creation, and marine and bird life. It also asks residents for their opinion on whether any future windfarm would benefit them and their family.
Researchers are inviting residents who would like to comment further on three aspects – fishing, ecology/tourism and travel – to take part in specific surveys.
The travel survey covers both aviation and shipping.
Residents are asked how concerned they are about factors including increased cancellation of ferry services and a possible increase in costs and travel time for ferry passenger services as possible direct impacts of offshore wind energy.
People interested in fishing are asked how concerned they are of an offshore wind farm on factors including habitat destruction, navigation hazards and loss of access.
Under tourism, questions include whether the presence of an offshore wind farm would change tourists’ choice of where to visit in the island.
The ecology section covers people’s perception of the impact of development on basking sharks, pupping for grey seals and Queen scallop beds.
Everyone who completes a survey will be entered into a prize draw to win your choice of a family season pass to the Wildlife Park, four individual Manx Heritage passes or gift vouchers for use in the Gaiety Theatre.
Funded by the Durham Energy Institute, the team is made up of researchers from independent consultancy, Durham University Business School and the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences at Durham University. Their research also includes the feasibility of using seaweed that washes up on Manx beaches as biogas.
Dr John Bothwell has said the removal of seaweed from Douglas beach is about the least damaging way to get some benefit from seaweed biomass without affecting the environment.