A New EIA for Natural Scotland

A New Environmental Impact Assessment for Natural Scotland: Environment, Imagination and Aesthetics

The Scottish landscape is inescapably changing in response to climate change. This work investigated the effects of human attempts to mitigate climate change by working creatively with the narrow but powerful lens of the planning process, the very mechanism of change. By re imagining current land-use planning processes to include considerations of perceptions of beauty, wilderness, naturalness and impact on place, memory and community, we used wind-farm developments as a context in which to creatively develop a new Environmental Impact Assessment. In doing this, we aimed to gain new insights into how we as a society assign values to the interface between landscape and community when making decisions about developments to the Scottish landscape.

Through techniques such as intensive cultural mapping and creative investigation we created a new model of conducting analysis and consultation in conflicted land-use situations. We hope this may lead to discussion of the use of new methodologies which would include a much deeper understanding of place than can currently be expressed.

The work is an exploration of a new creative way of assessing and encompassing impact. We focused on the impacts of change to people, place and community. These are areas which are not included in a traditional EIA.

We were keen to explore the conflict and (at times) contradiction between local and global environmental priorities and impacts, through a consideration of the appropriateness of renewable energy, and community responses both to wind-farms themselves, and the development processes more broadly.

The project team:
Jo Hodges / Robbie Coleman – Artists
Dr Claire Haggett – Lecturer in the Sociology of Sustainability, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh
Community participants in Dumfries and Galloway

An Imagining Natural Scotland / Creative Scotland / Scottish Natural Heritage Commission

Categories: 2014, Collaboration, Community Engagement, Participatory, Process, Research