How we consult communities to shape infrastructure developments

When energy company E.ON was looking to increase its UK generating capacity, we were chosen to carry out a public consultation campaign in the area surrounding its moth-balled High Marnham coal-fired power station.

E.ON’s scoping exercise was to determine the appetite and viability of firstly, reopening High Marnham as a modern coal-fired power station, and subsequently as a gas-fired power station. The site is in north Nottinghamshire, a traditional coalfield community that has grown up with the four iconic cooling towers dominating the surrounding views.

Our public consultation process involved engaging across a wide spectrum of influencers, including MPs, councillors, residents, business and environmentalists. Our consultation team embedded itself in the local community, getting to know the groundswell of opinion and responding accordingly with advice and strategies for E.ON.

We researched community news channels, identified meeting places and listed community noticeboards so that we were prepared with a map of the local community touchpoints. A project shop was set-up in a local village so that people could drop in to find out more and meet members of E.ON’s community engagement team.

Whilst E.ON decided not to progress either development, according to the community, the cooling towers had become such a part of the local landscape that these were in fact preferred to the possibility of wind turbines.

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