Data collection

  • Data collection

    Data collection period

    We aim to gather primary empirical data relating to the EOWDC from the pre-construction phase (baseline) and then monitor through the construction phase and one year into the O&M phase i.e. from early 2017 through to late 2019.

    The development of the Beatrice and Hornsea case studies will be mainly based on the assessment of publicly available secondary data, supplemented by a small amount of primary data collection where possible.

  • Horns rev offshore wind farm

    Aerial picture of Horns rev wind farm in Denmark - Photo by Vattenfall

    DanTysk wind farm

    DanTysk wind farm - Photo by Vattenfall

    Data collection techniques

    Literature review

    We will undertake a systematic review of current literature (both academic and grey literature) on socio-economic impact assessment methodology and mitigation/enhancement methods (the researchers themselves are significant contributors to this literature). We will also include consideration of related recent academic literature relating to OWF which has been published since 2009; we have chosen 2009 as the starting point as we are aware of the ‘Wind Energy’ project (Wind Energy-the facts, undated) which has a comprehensive reference list of publications relating to OWF prior to 2009. We will also review literature relating to socio-economic context of Aberdeen and surrounding region (including but not limited to spatial planning, public health etc.).

    ES review

    We will examine current practice in assessing socio-economic effects of OWF by undertaking a review of a selection of environmental statements and, where available, original scoping opinions and stakeholder responses to scoping requests (to determine to what extent stakeholders and decision makers are aware of the potential range of socio-economic impacts) for developments in the UK and Europe.

    We will use the following inclusion criteria for projects that we will review:

    • Only projects which are either consented, under construction, or in O&M stage, will be included. Projects consented but then withdrawn or subject to judicial review will still be included as it is aspects of practice we wish to review. Where any decision to withdraw is based on socio-economic grounds this will be identified;
    • Projects will be 50 MW and above in order to focus on major projects;
    • The projects will be recent i.e. from 2010 onwards to reflect development in recent practice;
    • All UK projects (Scotland, England and Wales) fitting into the above categories will be included, where information is available and accessible;
    • We will also review a sample of EU projects fitting above criteria.

    Using these criteria we envisage a maximum of 50 projects will be reviewed. Our assessment framework will comprise an adapted version of the Environmental Impact Statement Review Package developed by the Impact Assessment Unit (IAU) of Oxford Brookes University (a version of which is available in Appendix 5 of Glasson et al, 2012) combined with the essential socio-economic assessment criteria given in 1.4 above.

    1. EOWDC case study

      The quantitative data we will collect will include:

      • Secondary data comprising that which is publicly available (e.g. on the Aberdeen and surrounding area economy, demographics, housing availability etc.);
      • Primary data that we will need to generate through regular surveys and data sampling points. Examples of the type of data which we will need to generate includes:
        • Anonymised data from Vattenfall/appointed contractors (as appropriate) of construction and O&M employment at regular intervals over the three years of the project, including inter alia locational origins of workforce, skills, residential location during project, plus information on supply chain contracts.
        • From the Aberdeen workforce, we will seek information, via local surveys of the workforce, of interaction with local area (for example worker expenditure patterns)
        • From Vattenfall we will also need information on current approaches to assessment of socio - economic impacts, and associated mitigation and enhancement measures (UK and elsewhere).
    2. Beatrice and Hornsea case studies

      For these case studies the data to be used will be derived from detailed review of relevant application and consent documentation and secondary data that are publicly available or easily accessible.

      Quantitative data analysis for all three case studies will be supported through the use of standard statistical manipulation packages such as Excel and SPSS.

    It is not intended that any qualitative data will be collected for the Beatrice and Hornsea case studies therefore this section only applies to the detailed EOWDC case study.

    Qualitative data will be collected through group meetings which will be run as focus groups (i.e. participants will be asked to give their opinions, views and perceptions) facilitated by two members of the research team on each occasion. The meetings will be audio recorded so that an accurate record can be kept of the discussion. The audio recording will be transcribed and coded in order to determine key themes and emerging issues which will be tracked and explored through the research. A brief summary of the meeting with key points will be produced and made available on the project website. We will produce annual socio-economic impacts reports which will briefly summarise the on-going position. These will be available on our website as a pdf and in hardcopy distributed through key community locations to facilitate wider dissemination.

    There will be two types of group meetings: Stakeholder Group (e.g. local authority representatives) and Community Group (e.g. residents associations).

    One to one interviews will be carried out to supplement the information collected at these two different types of group meetings over the course of the project.

    Whilst it is not intended that social media will be used as a way of generating key data, public postings and comments on social media (such as Twitter) that relate to the EOWDC will be viewed during the project as a way of informing our general understanding of the view of the project in the community.

  • AOWL (2012) Onshore transmission works (Blackdog) environmental report.

    AOWF Newsletter October (2016) (accessed 18th November 2016)

    Busch, M, Kira Gee K, Burkhard, B , Lange, M and Stelljes N (2011) Conceptualizing the link between marine ecosystem services and human well-being: the case of offshore wind farming International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management iFirst, 1–14

    Butler, C. D., and W. Oluoch-Kosura. 2006. Ecology and Society 11(1): 30. [online] URL: Linking future ecosystem services and future human well-being. (accessed 18th November 2016)

    Chadwick A (2002) Socio-economic Impacts: Are They Still the Poor Relations in UK Environmental Statements? Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 45:1, 3-24

    Chadwick A and Glasson J (1999), Auditing the Socio-economic Impacts of a Major Construction Project: The Case of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 42:6, 811-836

    Durning B and Broderick M (2015) Cumulative effects assessment in offshore windfarms - review of current practice. Report for NERC available at

    Glasson J (2005) Better monitoring for better impact management: the local socio-economic impacts of constructing Sizewell B nuclear power station, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 23:3, 215-226

    Glasson J, Therivel R and Chadwick A (2012) Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment (4th Ed), Routledge

    Hattam, C., Hooper, T. and Papathanasopoulou, E. 2015. Understanding the Impacts of Offshore Wind Farms on Well-Being, The Crown Estate, 77 pages, ISBN: 978-1-906410-65-0

    Regeneris (2015)Impact of DONG Energy Investments in the Humber Area. (accessed 19th November 2016)

    Scottish Government (2011) 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland(accessed 20th November 2016)

    Wind Energy - the facts (undated) (accessed 18thNovember 2016)

    Vattenfall (2011) European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre: Environmental Statement: Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited

  • Contact us

    You can contact us by writing to or emailing Dr Bridget Durning via:

    School of the Built Environment
    Oxford Brookes University
    Headington Campus
    Oxford OX3 0BP

    tel: +44 (0)1865 482845