WISERD Research Reports Series, WISERD/RRS/001
Effective information communication and public participation in the planning process are important elements for facilitating successful environmental decision-making. Previous research has demonstrated the importance of these factors for delivering benefits to a wide range of stakeholders in the planning system by increasing the transparency and efficiency of the planning process. Planning information relating to the potential visual impacts of proposed developments is particularly important in the case of wind farm planning, given the high levels of concern amongst members of the public regarding the perceived negative visual impacts of wind turbines on the landscape. However, shortcomings associated with traditional visualisation techniques used to assess such impacts have been highlighted in previous research, along with drawbacks related to the dissemination of such information to the public during the planning stages of wind farm development. This research is concerned with evaluating the potential of innovative digital landscape visualisation and Webbased approaches for addressing some of the shortcomings in these areas. This paper describes the implementation of a Web-based survey study designed to evaluate the potential of online GIS-based approaches for improving the effectiveness and dissemination of wind farm visualisations and enhancing public participation in wind farm planning. Results from the survey study add to the research literature by demonstrating how innovative visualisation and Web-based approaches have real potential for augmenting existing methods of information provision and public participation in the wind farm planning process. The findings of this study are also transferrable to other landscape planning scenarios.