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Making Sense of Uncertainty: Planning, Risk and Place


The construction of LNG terminals at Milford Haven in South Wales and a gas pipeline from Swansea to Gloucestershire was the subject of a study. These projects, together with their UK Government policy background (primarily the 2003 and 2006 Energy White Papers), weave together several dimensions of uncertainty: local economic development, national energy security, global fossil fuel use and climate change. A series of interviews with community activists protesting against the infrastructure projects explored how the conflicts between interviewees’ and official understandings of the uncertainties surrounding the building of the new infrastructure reflect different judgements about what kinds of values (economic, social, amenity, environmental) would be affected by the project. On the basis of the interviews and an analysis of the project’s history, the research explored how local planning conflicts both reveal invisible values, vital to communities yet perhaps overlooked in impact assessments, and shed light on the tension between the private and public duties of privatized energy utilities.

Aims of Project


June 2008 – April 2009


Narrative interviews conducted with 15 community representatives, and documentary analysis (media reports, official documents).


“Environmental Futures and Value Conflicts”, Understanding Conflicts, Aarhus University, Denmark, 19-22 August 2008

Groves, C. (2010) "Living with Uncertainty: The South Wales LNG Pipeline and Terminals", Planet 195, pp. 66-73.

Groves, C. (2010) "Predict and Provide", Planet Extra, 15 July 2009.