Professor Patrick Devine-Wright and Research Fellow Matthew Cotton from the University have recently published a study entitled, NIMBYism and community consultation in electricity transmission network planning. While researching the study, they interviewed a bunch of UK transmission project executives and examined their theories about public involvement in the transmission siting process. There's much to be learned here, and the parallels to the attitudes the citizens have encountered from PATH project drones tells me they've got it spot on.
You'll have to translate it out of "Brit-speak" (funny how the English can't speak "English" and have a phobia of the letter "z"), but here are a few quotes of interest:
"These localised factors highlight the asymmetrical distribution of electricity infrastructure impacts, whereby social benefits, risks and losses are unevenly distributed, particularly when losses and risks are "concentrated" to areas within specific proximities of line sites, and benefits are "dispersed" across broader society."
"The NIMBY label is problematic, as it is often used by proponents of development projects as a means to discredit all forms of project opposition, regardless of its motivation, and wrongly characterises local people as worried, irrational, ignorant of scientific and technical facts, and selfishly unwilling to support projects that benefit broader society. Even if one were to accept this characterisation of citizens opposed to line siting, NIMBYism is neither irrational nor necessarily unethical."
If you have come to the conclusion that the PATH drones are just plain evil, this paper may help you to more properly classify them as ignorant and set in their ways. It matters not to them that their ways don't work, especially when the project in question is completely and totally UNNECESSARY for the public good, they still persist in their same old, status quo, shady practices. There's a lot of arrogance thrown in there as well (which you can see quite clearly in the industry quotes included in the study), but in all seriousness, I don't think they can help themselves. They're never going to understand us or our issues, but that doesn't stop us from understanding them. Knowledge is power.
Cotton and Devine Wright come to this brilliant conclusion:
"It would behove TNO organisations therefore to be mindful of the fact that public exhibitions themselves can become a focal point for proposal opposition to agencies' de facto decisions, suggesting that their use as a tool “enable constructive debate to take place, creating open and two-way communication processes" will likely serve the opposite purpose: reinforcing public opposition rather than ameliorating it, which could lead to project delay, or in extreme cases ultimately forcing the TNO to abandon its proposals, thus leading to planning failure and potentially causing damage to local community trust in the network operator organisations involved."
Little translation of my own: PATH is completely screwed! They cannot undo the damage at this point because they cannot turn back the clock. What's the appropriate term for PATH's PR strategy's status? FUBAR would be appropriate. Nice work, knuckleheads!