A South West Protocol for Wind Energy Developments
A framework for engaging the public in wind energy proposals
Project duration: April 2004 to July 2004
Around 2004 when this project was undertaken, planning authorities South West found themselves dealing with a significant number of planning applications for new wind energy developments.
Then, as now, many wind-farm planning applications generated strong feelings, both for and against, with local communities demanding a voice in the planning process.
What became clear was that the approach taken by developers and local authorities to engaging the public and stakeholders varied widely across the region. This was adding to the confusion that already existed around the relatively novel technology and reduced the ability of stakeholders - particularly local communities - to influence wind energy proposals.
To address this, the project aimed to set the framework for public engagement around wind energy proposals in the South West by developing a protocol and best practice guidance on two issues:
- A stakeholder engagement around planning applications
- Delivering local benefits from schemes that have been approved
Agreement on the process of engagement would allow all parties to learn from each proposal, whether the proposal receives planning permission or not.
The project consisted of three distinct components:
- A survey questionnaire sent out to 25 wind industry representatives with interests in the South West — to gain their views on current experiences concerning community engagement and local benefits
- Two stakeholder workshops forlocal authority planning officers and community representatives
- Development of a protocol and set of guidelines subjected to peer-review from industry specialists and local authority and community representatives