Consultation pays off for 40MW biomass project
Strong consultation involvement with the local community is being heralded as a major success point in the granting of approval this week for a 40MW biomass plant in the East of England.
Iceni Energy's straw-fuelled biomass plant near Snetterton in Norfolk has been approved by Breckland Council after a consultation process which involved talking to over 2,300 local residents and stakeholders. Consultation activities included face to face discussions as well as an interactive website.
The consultation, carried out by Consense, revealed that 50% of respondents were in support of the Snetterton Biomass Plant with a further 23% undecided and 27% opposed. Once the application was submitted a further 59 letters of support were sent to Breckland Council, as opposed to 46 letters of objection.
Consense Director, Jessica Topham, commented: "In light of recent planning reforms and the public perception of renewable energy projects, it is more important than ever that developers engage early and effectively with the local community.
"Our experience with Iceni has shown that making the effort to involve people in consultation through multiple channels, reaching those who would not usually take part, can reap real rewards."