Winning hearts and minds and building trust as Ecotricity prepared to present its case for a 22-turbine wind park on Heckington Fen (Lincs) to the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
- Getting the majority of the local community understanding the technology and fostering a spirit of collaboration so that they feel part of the planning process.
- Gathering empirical data and other evidence in support of the wind park.
- There is a possibility that the wind park will NOT go to public inquiry because:
- the planning officer at North Kesteven Council has recommended in favour
- the Environmental Impact Assessment has a significant body of data showing citizen support for the plan
- By listening carefully (and showing how we listened), Ecotricity was seen for what it is – an authentic renewable energy provider on a noble mission.
- The values-based messages ‘glued’ the whole campaign together and enabled persuasive presentations (even when caught on the back foot because we knew we had nothing to hide).
Andrew Muir: “Kinetic helped us prepare our case to the community for what may be our biggest wind park – 22 turbines on Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire. From the outset, we had a „steel thread‟ of messages „gluing‟ together every strand of our communications – website, newsletters, social media, face to face meetings, events and media relations.
“The way we did it really helped win hearts and minds in the community – we‟ve now a considerable body of support for the proposal – that‟s a first for me since I came into the renewable industry. It does demonstrate that good, effective communication doesn‟t necessarily mean changing people‟s minds (although that helps) but making sure they make up their minds based on the best facts available.
“It‟s been mostly about listening and addressing every issue raised – from how the technology works to the impact on property prices. Everyone had the chance to comment and every comment went into the EIA. It all felt very genuinely „the Ecotricity way‟ – open, transparent, authentic drive to turn utility bills into windmills.
“It remains to be seen what North Kesteven District Council decides but I‟d like to give Kinetic a glowing recommendation because, by working with them, we did everything we possibly could to make the people around Heckington Fen feel part of the decision.”