‘Consent’ is missing ingredient in planning for wind power

Simon Roberts makes the case for public engagement

5 October 2012

CPRE, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, recently launched a report advocating a more strategic approach to wind energy planning (download it here). The aim was to start a debate to resolve the tensions between the desire for renewable energy and the need to protect the character of the countryside.

To get the discussion going, CPRE invited three experts, including CSE's Chief Executive, Simon Roberts, to share their views on the future of onshore wind.

You can read what they have to say here.

"My main point is that we need to do much more to secure the consent of the people to the transition to a low carbon society", said Simon. "Up to now, policy-makers and 'experts’ have blythly assumed that the population will be satisfied to leave it to 'those who know best' or will be borne along by the strength of some generalised ‘it’s good for you’ argument.

"This is not the case now, and it probably never was. What's missing is a process to deliver meaningful consent of communities to the changes that they will see in their lives and homes, their neighbourhoods and further afield."

CSE's PlanLoCaL initiative, which Simon mentions in his contribution to CPRE’s debate, is all about engaging the community in a shift to a low-carbon future. It starts from a view that there needs to be a sense of ‘joint agency’ on tackling climate change: between and within communities, and between communities, local government and society more widely.  

One of the films CSE made for PlanLoCaL is all about considering the impact of a community renewable energy project on the natural or built environment. You can open 'Listed buildings, heritage and landscape' on YouTube here.  

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