DECC Updates Community Engagement and Benefit Guidance for Onshore Wind

Earlier this week (7 October 2014) the UK Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) published updated guidance for engagement in planning and development for onshore wind. Aimed at communities, local authorities and developers, the documents are forwarded by The Rt Hon Edward Davey (Ed) who says the opportunity to develop onshore wind and benefits “requires ambition, innovation and commitment on all sides” through a clear, transparent process.

A quite reasonable 94 pages (50 for benefits, 44 for engagement) are also summarised into bite-sized documents for both Local Authorities and Communities. Copies of all PDFs can be found within the link here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-benefits-and-engagement-guidance-for-onshore-wind

In true 2014 style, I put the document through Wordle and the key words can clearly be seen below.
Wordle-DECC

Best practice includes:

  • Public exhibitions
  • The use of questionnaires
  • The use of visual aids, such as photomontages of the proposed development
  • Making the report available online and at local meeting places

Innovative practice might involve (amongst others):

  •   The use of photographic, video and three dimensional tools for illustrations

The use of innovation and engagement as headlines and key words throughout, resonate with the work Linknode are doing to make visual assessment more accessible (through mobile technologies), relevant (by being location driven) and understandable with our augmented reality views of planning data. Our VentusAR solution fits perfectly in enabling greater engagement through new mediums and is finding a place in communicating a development from scoping and feasibility, through consulting and into the formal planning process.

Where the documents focus on the planning process, there is a lost opportunity to share how the engagement process works and how it can be a benefit to the developer as well as the community. The left-hand side of the image below comes from the DECC publication and we have mirrored the timeline with a collaborative approach. Communication begets engagement begets empowerment and, through feedback ultimately begets improvement.

VentusAR-DECC

We look forward to seeing how this changes and empowers more communities and increases the involvement and engagement of all parties.