UK survey suggests NIMBY activism has grown with more public consultation

The Saint ReportPlanning and Zoning, Saint Consulting Links, Saint Index, saintblogLeave a Comment

By Nick Keable
Vice President, UK Operations, The Saint Consulting Group

nimbyIn March each year at MIPIM, which is the largest European property conference, we launch the UK Saint Index. This is an annual analysis of UK voters’ attitudes to property development. The numbers are still being analysed, but a couple of interesting findings are already percolating through — about public consultation, NIMBYs and wind energy.

First, NIMBYs. It seems that whilst NIMBYism is still rife in the UK, the really active NIMBYs, those that actually put the PlayStation control down and prise themselves off the sofa to physically campaign against a development, are continuing to grow in number.

In the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the Government began pushing the requirement for all developers to carry out public consultation on every larger planning project. In truth, most developers had been doing this for some time anyway, but this was the first time that it was actually ‘required’. What our findings year on year seem to tell us is that this increase in public consultation has had two effects:

More consultation has helped to increase the number of active NIMBYs, those as described above.
It has proved the point that many in the property industry made back in 2003/4 to the Government. Consultation does not generate any more understanding or support for development.

Second, wind energy. We have never included wind energy as a separate sector before in any of the previous UK Saint Index surveys. This time we have. And the results are startling. Our NIMBY Approval Rating shows that, in these ‘green conscious’ times, wind farms are the second most supported type of development. Tell that to any wind farm developer, who right now have to go through the appeal process to get 60% of wind farms approved. Which just goes to prove the essence of NIMBYism: I am happy to support anything, as long as it’s Not In My Back Yard.

Thanks to Paul Rosta at Commercial Property News, CPN Online, for picking up the US Saint Index findings in its report — Economy may be easing NIMBY-ism: Saint Consulting.

Nick Keable is vice president, UK Operations, The Saint Consulting Group, email:, phone +44 207 592 7050

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *