RBA Research was commissioned by npower renewables
to conduct an independent, objective and dispassionate survey
to gauge the opinions of residents and visitors in the Rhyl and
Prestatyn areas towards the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm. The
research aimed to establish: awareness and knowledge of North
Hoyle; opinions about the wind farm; the importance of the sea
view; the wind farm's impact on visitor numbers and the degree
and nature of people's environmental concerns.
A similar survey was carried out by RBA in March
2003, before the wind farm was in position, and this provided
a baseline that results from this survey can be compared with.
Face to face interviews were carried out with
a representative cross section of the residents, 100 in Prestatyn
and 100 in Rhyl. Visitor interviews were also conducted in both
Prestatyn and Rhyl (56 in total). All interviews took place between
1 and 16 June 2004.
All fieldwork, data processing and analysis
was carried out by RBA Research.
RBA is a member of the British Market Research
Association (BMRA), and abides by its Quality Charter. In addition
the conduct of individual researchers is required to be compliant
with the Professional Code of Conduct of the Market Research Society
RBA is a quality-assured firm, and is working
towards re-accreditation of the British and International Quality
Standard BS7911 (MRQSA), which is the industry-specific quality
standard that incorporates but is more service orientated than
IQCS, in addition to being formally accredited as an Investor
1. Support for the North Hoyle Offshore
Wind Farm has increased, with 73% of residents now saying they
support the project, compared with 62% of residents before the
wind farm was operational. Just 5% of residents oppose the wind
farm. 71% of visitors say they are in support of North Hoyle and
none of the 56 visitors interviewed said they oppose the wind
2. Residents are as positive about the choice
of location of the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm now as they
were before it was operational (33% say a "good" choice,
52% an "acceptable" choice and 8% a "bad"
choice8% say they don't know). Half of visitors (48%) say
that the choice of location is "good" (36% say "acceptable"
and 2% say "bad"14% say don't know).
3. There is no change in opinion of how
pleasing or not pleasing, the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm's
appearance is now it is in place, compared with before it was
built. A third of residents (31%) say the North Hoyle wind farm
is pleasing to look at, and 14% say it is not. Two in five visitors
(40%) say it is pleasing to look at.
4. Residents saying the North Hoyle Offshore
Wind Farm has improved the view has increased to 10% (from 5%
who said they thought the North Hoyle wind farm would improve
the view), whereas those saying the view has been spoilt has increased
to 22% (from 14%). Less are now likely to choose the neutral option.
5. Two thirds of residents (67%) say the
presence of the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm has had no effect
on the number of people visiting or using the area, with people
more likely to be saying there has been an increase rather than
a decrease in numbers (11% say increase compared with 4% who say
decrease). Visitors do not see any effect on visitor numbers (82%
6. Eight in ten residents in the area (80%)
identify at least one good point about the North Hoyle Offshore
Wind Farm, which is no different to opinion before the wind farm
was operational. The most common are: good for the environment/non-polluting
(37%), good use of natural resource (26%), cheap source/way of
generating electricity (21%), safe (15%), less CO2
These were also the most common answers in the
2003 survey, so having the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm operational
and close to them has not changed residents' opinions.
7. Three in five of residents (59%), and
half of visitors (50%) don't see any drawbacks. There is an increase
in residents saying that the North Hoyle wind farm is a blot on
the landscape (21% from 13%). 13% of visitors also say this.
8. Most residents live in the area because
their family or friends live there, whereas visitors mainly come
to the area because of the sea view (52% say this).
9. Half of residents (49%) use positive
words to describe the sea now the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm
is in position, which is no different from before.
10. The sea view is as important to residents
now as it was before the wind farm was in position; 34% of residents
say it is a main reason for them living in the area (52% of visitors
say it is a main reason for them visiting the area).
11. Familiarity with the North Hoyle Offshore
Wind Farm has, as we expected, increased; 61% of residents say
they know a lot or a little (49% said this in the 2003 survey),
as do 38% of visitors. None of the residents and just 7% of visitors
say they haven't heard of the North Hoyle wind farm.
12. Just 11% correctly answered that the
North Hoyle wind farm will produce enough electricity in a year
to power around 50,000 homes.
It is clear that the promotion of the annual generation of the
wind farm in terms of equivalent number of average homes supplied
each year has not been absorbed by the public. The majority of
those who expressed an opinion are most likely to underestimate
13. There has been an increase in the proportion
of residents who say they know a lot or a little about wind power,
to 62% from 40% in 2003. It is possible this could be attributed
to the presence of the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm and associated
14. Almost nine in ten residents (85%) say
they are concerned about environmental issues, particularly those
residents living on the coast (91% compared with 80% of those
not living on the coast).
15. There is increasing concern over pollution
of the sea and beaches (64% of residents now state this concern
compared with 53% of residents before the North Hoyle Offshore
Wind Farm was built). Seven in ten visitors say this is a concern,
which may be due to the fact that there are a high number of holiday
makers amongst the visitors in this survey.
16. On the day of the interview, the visibility
of the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm had little influence on
people's opinions of the effects of the wind farm, or their level
of support for it.
17. There are some differences by area:
(a) There has been an increase in support
for the wind farm by Prestatyn residents since the 2003 survey,
support from Rhyl residents remains the same.
(b) Prestatyn residents are now less likely
to say the view from the shore is acceptable, whereas there is
no change in opinion by Rhyl residents.
(c) Residents in Prestatyn have become more
knowledgeable about the wind farm.
These findings could be explained by the fact
that Prestatyn residents live closer to the wind farm.
18. Over nine in ten residents (93%) read
at least one of the mentioned newspapers, and are most likely
to be reading the Rhyl and Prestatyn Visitor (85%) or the Rhyl
Journal (82%). Visitors are unlikely to read any of the newspapers
listed (many visitors in this survey are holidaymakers), so need
to be communicated with through different channels.
262 Since this research was initially commissioned
this figure has been revised to 40,000 homes. This change has
been made in the light of an update to the average UK domestic
annual electricity consumption figure, which is now higher than
when development of the project began. Back