Trust at Imagine Belfast - Not in my Back Yard

Trust at Imagine Belfast - Not in my Back Yard

04 March 2016

For the second year running, the Trust is sponsoring one of Belfast’s most exciting festivals – the Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas. This year we are running our Civic Activism Series which features a wide range of events.

Next up is Not in My Back Yard which will look at the thorny issue of renewable energy in rural communities. Not whether it is right or wrong, but how we can best frame the conversation and talk about it.

This talk will look at how we can achieve a more deliberative democracy for Northern Ireland and how to improve the relationship between civil society and decision-makers.

Re-thinking NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard-ism) in relation to wind energy developments in rural parts of Northern Ireland. This café conversation event will discuss some of the challenges around the siting of Renewable Energy Technology Infrastructure in rural communities.

The event will build on the learning from the Re-thinking NIMBYism project funded by Building Change Trust and developed in partnership by Rural Community Network (RCN) and Community Places.

In April 2014 RCN held a conference for rural community groups to explore issues related to wind energy, and have supported groups and activists in objecting to wind energy development.They have also supported communities in considering the potential of renewable energy as a social enterprise.

The number of wind farms has grown significantly in the past decade, and this has become a highly contested issue in rural communities.The NI Executive has committed to obtaining 40 percent of NI electricity from renewable sources by 2020, much of that from wind.

In order to meet this target, further wind energy infrastructure development is inevitable in rural areas. Some wind energy developers have previously characterized community objections to turbines as a form of NIMBY-ism.

The RCN believes that this is a pejorative term that polarizes the debate and ignores the fact that communities have long-held and legitimate attachments to their landscape. The network believes that local opposition to wind energy infrastructure needs to be understood not as obstructionist, but rather as a form of protection of place.

The event will consist of a short video presentation telling the story of individuals in three rural communities that have been affected, one community which has adapted to an industrial wind farm in their area and has benefited and two other communities who are opposing large scale renewable developments in their area.

The video will act as a stimulus for a café conversation style event where participants will discuss the complexities of the issues involved and think about the compromises they may have to make in the future as we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and generate a greater proportion of our energy from renewable sources.

The film will also include contributions from academics and practitioners who have been involved in similar debates outside Northern Ireland.

If you’d like to attend, click here to get tickets

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