The landward shores of Strangford Lough are predominantly rural in setting with the two small towns of Strangford and Portaferry on the east and west banks of the Narrows. Leisure, tourism and fisheries are important parts of the local economy. The SeaGen project will result in the implementation of a large piece of operating machinery in the Lough which is likely to create a wide range of ‘mix-view’ perceptions throughout the community, whether they be positive views of potential increase in area profile or provision of a future showpiece for tidal technology or negative perceptions of environmental and/or economic impact. Tidal technology is in its infancy and therefore the technical efficiency and applicability of the system and its potential impact on the environment is uncertain. It is therefore important that the local community are made aware of the project and kept informed at all times of the project’s development and the ongoing environmental monitoring. An open-invitation public exhibition was held in Strangford and Portaferry on the 16th of April 2005 to inform the local communities about the project proposed. Throughout the design of the project, ongoing newsletters were produced and distributed to the local community. MCT plan to produce quarterly newsletters to keep the public informed and have developed a specific website (in development) through which the public can obtain updates and review progress reports. MCT will be hosting another public exhibition in prior to installation in late 2006, to increase public awareness. It is important to monitor the local community’s awareness and perception levels of the project to assess the extent of the need and the appropriate ways to disseminate the project information. The report in this series provides baseline awareness and knowledge levels of the local community.
Final Baseline Survey Report