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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Average attendance

Attendance at the British Wind Energy Association conference in Exeter in September was average, with 250 delegates, conference attendance haveing stabilised over the last couple of years. Exhibition stands were of a higher standard than ever and the over-full conference programme was ruthlessly umpired by session chairmen.

Attendance at British wind conferences appears to have stabilised over the last couple of years. Some 250 delegates converged on Exeter University for BWEA-18 in September -- the same number that attended last year's event in Warwick. The venue was generally acknowledged to be excellent, although the main conference room lacked the professionalism of previous conferences.

As yet the British Wind Energy Association shows no sign of deserting university campuses for a more upmarket conference venue. But accommodation at Exeter was of a high enough standard to stifle all but the most hardened grouchers.

The over-full conference programme could have caused problems but on most occasions ruthless umpiring by session chairmen ensured that long over-runs -- endemic in past years -- were kept to a minimum. Nonetheless many delegates felt that the limited timescale allotted to each paper -- often as brief as 10-12 minutes -- allowed no more than a cursory examination of the subject and not enough time for questions.

Exhibitors manning the 31 stands at BWEA '96 expressed themselves satisfied with their venue in the Great Hall, but six small stands on the stage were noticeably isolated from the main throng. Exhibition stands were of a higher standard than ever with Zond's exhibit easily the most imposing "It's the most professional exhibition ever," commented a conference old-hand. Attendance tended to ebb and flow, with the coffee breaks producing surges of activity. Confining the exhibition to just the first two days of the conference led to a particularly busy second day.

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