Public engagement for sub-20MW wind turbine proposals – good practice guidance

Good practice guidance for local authorities, developers, landowners, community representatives and other relevant stakeholders on public engagement for wind turbine proposals; principally below 20MW generating capacity.

3. Existing Scottish Government Policies, Guidance and Advice on Consultation Practices

A great deal of work has been carried out to ensure developments are implemented following full public engagement. Relevant excerpts from Scottish Government documents are referenced and listed below. Where relevant, these documents should be read in full and the practices followed.

3.1 Scottish Planning Policy

3.1.1 In addition to guidance in Circulars 6/2013: Development Planning [9] , 3/2013: Development Management Procedures [10] and the advice provided in Planning Advice Note 3/2010: Community Engagement [11] , the Scottish Government's policy on community engagement in the planning system is set out in Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP) [12] . SPP paragraphs 5 - 7 state:

3.1.2 "The primary responsibility for the operation of the planning system lies with strategic development planning authorities, and local and national park authorities. However, all those involved with the system have a responsibility to engage and work together constructively and proportionately to achieve quality places for Scotland. This includes the Scottish Government and its agencies, public bodies, statutory consultees, elected members, communities, the general public, developers, applicants, agents, interest groups and representative organisations.

3.1.3 Throughout the planning system, opportunities are available for everyone to engage in the development decisions which affect them. Such engagement between stakeholders should be early, meaningful and proportionate. Innovative approaches, tailored to the unique circumstances are encouraged, for example community workshop events ( charrettes [13] ) or mediation initiatives. Support or concern expressed on matters material to planning should be given careful consideration in developing plans and proposals and in determining planning applications. Effective engagement can lead to better plans, better decisions and more satisfactory outcomes and can help to avoid delays in the planning process.

3.1.4 Planning authorities and developers should ensure that appropriate and proportionate steps are taken to raise awareness and engage with communities during the preparation of development plans, when development proposals are being formed and when applications for planning permission are made. Individuals and community groups should ensure that they focus on planning issues and use available opportunities for engaging constructively with developers and planning authorities."

3.2 National Standards for Community Engagement

The National Standards for Community Engagement [14] set out best practice principles for the way that government agencies, councils, health boards, police and other public bodies engage with communities. The community engagement planning tool VOiCE [15] is underpinned by the standards.

3.3 Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments

3.3.1 Scottish Government Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments [16] is also a useful reference point. The guidance states that consultation on community benefit schemes should reach at least the same geographical area as the required consultation on the development itself.

3.3.2 Chapters 6 and 7 of the guidance provide valuable detail on factors to consider in identifying the appropriate geographical area for community benefits and associated consultations. They are of particular relevance to this guidance.

3.3.3 The guidance also identifies the stakeholders who should be included in discussions and a range of further considerations including good practice consultation principles.

3.3.4 Local consultation is an important component of any community benefits scheme. The creation and strengthening of mutual trust and relationships should be regarded as integral to the overall process. Done well, it can also improve the likelihood of developers and their host communities building trust and understanding locally about the renewables development more widely. The document identifies expected content and methods for consulting on wind energy proposals.


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