Commercial project or symbolic ownership

For some surfers, the project is seen very much as a local project for the people of Cornwall. References to the number of local households that could be supplied by the development, and claims that the development will show what Cornwall stands for, use attachment to place to develop a symbolic ownership of the project/technology itself. This can be seen in the quote below from Surfers Against Sewage. They are looking forward to using the waves they have been using for surfing to light their homes. This position makes no reference to the fact that local people will still be supplied by the same energy company and will be required to pay for the electricity that they use. By omitting this from the image of local natural resources being used for local energy generation, they increase the project’s inclusivity and sense of symbolic local ownership:

‘We look forward to using the same energy we’ve used to ride waves to light up our homes as well’ (Surfers Against Sewage, 2007b).

Alternatively the development is seen as a purely commercial venture motivated solely by profit. The quote below demonstrates such sentiments:

‘we’re not stupid, and this is ultimately a commercial venture. Its set-up costs are reduced by its proposed location, but its output reduced – once this is built [the development partner has] made its dosh!’ (Email objec­tion, p34).

Although community ownership has been investigated as a possible way of improving local support for developments (Devine-Wright, 2005; Rogers et al, 2008), a more symbolic sense of ownership (rather than the direct purchasing of shares etc.) can also be important in developing support in such cases.

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