Launch of CSE’s community energy consultation methodology

2 December 2016

A consultation tool written jointly by CSE and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was launched today (30 November 2016) at the Town and Country Planning Association’s ‘Are we planning for the climate challenge’ event.

The new tool lets communities take lead in planning their own low carbon future and adopts CSE and CPRE’s new ‘Future Energy Landscapes’ approach that  shows that putting local people at the centre of energy planning can result in ambitious vision and targets. Through a series of participatory workshops, with visual tools and consumption calculations, communities are empowered to combine their understanding and views of their landscape with planning for energy needs Together, local planners and communities can create robust energy strategies that could deliver radical reductions in carbon emissions and enjoy genuine local backing.

The methodology was trialled in Congresbury, Somerset and Morton in Marsh, Gloucestershire.

CSE's Rachel Coxcoon, who led the research, says: “Our aim was to develop a new approach to energy planning that would reduce local opposition to new energy infrastructure, by putting local people at the heart of the process of choosing what’s appropriate for their area. Communities who trialled this approach developed plans for future energy developments that were ambitious in scope, but grounded in local realities”.

Kim Hagen, Senior Energy Campaigner at CPRE, comments: “Moving towards a low carbon future needs to happen in a socially just way that doesn’t harm the countryside. This new approach puts communities in the driving seat for energy planning, ensuring local voices are valued and increasing local pride in shaping the energy transition we urgently need. At the same time, the approach puts landscape character at the heart of renewable energy planning, simply by carefully listening to those who live in, and care for, their local area."

Photo by Ian Carvell ( reproduced under creative commons.

Stay up to date with our work - sign up for our fortnightly newsletter