||The project will bring an understanding of existing planning policy and planning requirements, policy gaps as associated with a future Smart Systems and Heat (SSH) market, more certainty on future timelines/budget, key risks/benefits, define a Town Planning strategy for Phase 2 and establish key Planning Officer relationships. In addition the work will provide a plan and budget to achieve planning consent and also start the process for achieving planning consents for chosen locations.
This report investigates best practice and potential pitfalls in community engagement to inform the roll out of the ETI’s energy efficiency software the EnergyPath Networks tool.
- This research begins with a detailed review of the literature that examines community engagement for energy and non-energy infrastructure projects, incorporating in sight from Government, academic exercisesand non-statutory expert bodies.
- This desk top research is supported by a number of in depth interviews with those reponsible for community engagement in four UK local authority areas: Newcastle City Council, Leeds City Council, Cornwall County Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
- In addition, these UK case studies we examine some international examples Bottrop (a German city in the Ruhr Valley that is currently embarking on an all-encompassing city-wide energy efficiency scheme) and the Energiesprong pilot project in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
- The final element of primary research is interviews conducted with the community engagement team at the two major non-energy infrastructure projects, Crossrail and the Thames Tidal Gateway project in London.
- Using the primary and desktop research, a range of key principles and methods of communityengagement for the roll out of the EnergyPath Networks tool are identified as key findings.
- In terms of best practice methods, we set out a range of examples related to types of engagement. In addition, we have considered methods with regard to ‘involving’, i.e. providing opportunities for all parties involved in a project to become actively involved and whereby the process provides a genuine opportunity for the local community to have an influence on particular proposals or initiatives.
- We make the important point of the need to recognise that too rigid a categorisation of methods can in some case, inhibit creativity, which is an important factor to retain if engagement is to be effective.
- In terms of the question of community ownership, overall, it is concluded that there is no clear evidence at this stage that an element of community ownership indeveloping energy infrastructure assists in achieving widespread public support.
- We set out our recommended approach to engagement with local communities for the EnergyPath Networks tool model.
- A key finding is that there is no ‘one size fits all approach’ to community engagement and a bespoke approach is needed, tailored to individual communities and local contexts.
- We also set out a number of best practice principles of community engagement which we recommended are taken forward by the ETI.