New PlanLoCaL resource “really damn good”

Training day held to spread word about new initiative

25 February 2011

“It’s just really damn good,” was one of the more succinct responses from those attending a training day at Bath’s Guild Hall last week to find out more about the new PlanLoCaL resource pack, DVDs and website which CSE has recently been developing.

Designed to help communities plan for a low-carbon future, including through developing community-owned renewable energy projects, the new resources were put to the test by the delegates in attendance to see how it would work for them.

Representatives from a number of local and national organisations, including the Department of Energy and Climate Change, were present [see below] and evaluation forms showed the response to the packs was very positive. More than 80% said that resource pack would allow them to give more in-depth support to communities on planning and developing renewable energy projects.

“The event has shown there is a real need for the information these packs contain to be in one place,” said Rachel Coxcoon who is managing the PlanLoCaL project. “They bring together technical information, guidance on project planning and funding, case studies,  group exercises to help understand and plan initiatives, and other resources, making it easy to understand and providing a route for those communities who want to get a project off the ground.”

The day began with a mapping exercise which looked at the way in which low-carbon planning can be addressed through the priorities that are the most immediate concerns for most communities, such as affordable housing, transport and youth facilities, rather than starting with the less tangible ‘meta-problem’ of climate change.

The afternoon then looked in more depth at the community-owned renewable energy DVD and resource pack, and included a viewing of some of the short films. Delegates were split into six groups to carry out some of the participatory exercises, including: assessing the biomass woodfuel supply for a community; useful engagement with the planning system; assessing a river for hydropower potential; completing and assessing an application for funding; as well as two discursive, image-based exercises on landscape and heritage impacts.

But don’t take our word for it that the event was a success; have a read of what one of the attendees had to say about the training day on her blog.

If you’d like to find out more about the resource pack, email

Who came? The number of organisations attending speaks for itself: Action for Market Towns | Action with Communities in Rural England | Arnside & Silverdale AONB | Ashburton Futures | Bath & North East Somerset Council | Blackdown Hills AONB | Bristol City Council | Cambridgeshire Horizons | Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs AONB | The Converging World | Community Development Foundation | Cornwall AONB Partnership | Cumbria Energy Associates | Dartmoor National Park Authority | Department of Energy and Climate Change | Energy Action Devon | Energy Saving Trust | Exmoor National Park Authority | Herefordshire Council | Local Government Association | Marches Energy Agency | Mendip Hills AONB Unit | NEA South West | North Somerset Council | RegenSW | Renewable UK | The Silvanus Trust | South Gloucestershire Council | Sustainable Axbridge Network | Totnes Town Council | Transition Long Ashton | Transition Town Totnes | University of Sussex | Urban Forum | Wedmore Vale Energy Group | West Somerset Forum 21 | Wiltshire Council

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