Targeted engagement

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Country: 
UK

Kemp's Hill Wind Co-op adopted the strategy of getting as much information as possible to the local community from the outset in order to understand local public opinion. When the planning reference number was known, an A4 page information brochure was sent out to the closest 400 houses within a 4 mile radius of the site to explain how a co-op works, what it is and how it can benefit the local economy. It also showed photomontage viewpoints of the proposed wind turbine. They sent personal invitations to residents near to the site, as well as to local councillors, when organising their public exhibition. Their public exhibition involved displays of viewpoints of the turbine and provided details about the co-op. They had a comment box at the event for people to respond to a brief survey of public opinion. Following the exhibition, the 13 display boards were put online to give more people a chance to view the information. They also specifically sought to engage individuals and groups who may oppose their project by contacting a nearby anti-wind turbine group to ask their opinion about a community owned wind turbine, and to ask for their recommendations. The group recommended good community communication and keeping people informed, and suggested that offering meaningful community benefit could have a positive effect. In particular, they proposed calling a near-neighbour meeting to explain plans and consider any feedback and suggestions.