Methodological framework

  • Methodological framework

    We will adopt a comparative case study approach using mixed methods for the collection of data. The case study approach allows for a detailed and intensive analysis of the EOWDC and a less detailed analysis of two other case studies. The use of mixed methods reflects the critical reality that data needed to assess socio-economic impacts are not all easily quantifiable and a pragmatic approach incorporating consideration of both objective quantifiable data and more subjective qualitative data is needed for this study.

  • Wind farm at sunset view
    Overhead view of wind farm

    The study design also enables assessment of impacts across a range of local area socio- economic baselines (from remote rural to major urban) through drawing on a review of recent UK (and a selection of other EU countries) consented, under construction and fully operational OWF projects.

    Adopting this approach means that we do not envisage there being any potential interference to project results from planned Aberdeen Harbour development, increase in oil industry or port traffic etc; our socio- economic assessment methods work outwards from the project (e.g. how many local jobs data from Vattenfall/contractors) so it will be possible to identify OWF project impacts as distinct from those of other projects. However, the cumulative impacts with other projects (e.g. on the demand for particular skills; the impact on local accommodation market) will be built into the assessment methodology.

    Our choice of case studies is constrained by the timescale of construction activity for consented schemes. We have also selected case studies that are examples of different type of scheme based on scale and distance offshore. The study design includes two Scottish projects of differing scales (i.e. 100MW close to shore and 600 MW further offshore) and one larger English comparative study (Humberside) which also assesses the cumulative effects from a large array of OWFs and from a differing consenting regime (Planning Act 2008 in England for the consenting of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)). In detail these case studies comprise:

    • Detailed and intensive case study of EOWDC, Aberdeen (Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm): 11 turbines, up to 100MW, 2km offshore, consented Mar 2013; offshore site investigation work began in March 2016; onshore works started in October 2016; operational by 2018; Vattenfall project.

    Two primarily desk-based case studies of:

    • Beatrice Offshore Windfarm, Moray Firth: originally 277 turbines, reduced to 84 turbines, 588MW, 13.5km offshore, consented Mar 2014; offshore construction due to begin in 2017; operational by 2019; SSE-led consortium.
    • Hornsea OWF, Humber coast: Hornsea 1 - 240 turbines, 1.2GW, 103km offshore; Hornsea 2 – 300 turbines, 1.8GW, 89km offshore; Hornsea 1 consented Dec 2014, onshore construction began early 2016, offshore construction due to begin in 2018; Hornsea 2 consented Aug 2016, construction could begin in 2017; both DONG Energy.

    We will supplement these case studies with a reflection on current practice in the assessment of socio-economic impacts of other OWF in Scotland (accessed through the Marine Scotland portal) and England and Wales (accessed through the Planning Inspectorate portal).

  • 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