The protocol as discussed on Feb3rd seemed to give the impression that windpower developments will always be permitted and that only benefits will occur rather than a balance .Invited to e mail comments to Simon Roberts before the second meeting I consulted with colleagues both in the North East and other areas including the South West, on the proposed protocol .A consensus of opinion follows which I then e mailed to Simon Roberts.
Surely the protocol should imply that in cases where a full economic and environmental assessment demonstrates that the range of impacts and disbenefits are so great, the development should be rejected. The following amendment was suggested:
The process may involve discussion of the site, the wind development itself, its impacts and their possible mitigation and the potential benefits and disbenefits to the local area and more widely.
Insertion of " its impacts and their possible mitigation, replacing "low local impacts may be mitigated" and addition of "and disbenefits" after "potential benefits, seems to restore some balance.
A telephone call from Simon Roberts (Centre for Sustainable Energy) and a member of the Renewables Advisory Board (RAB). confirmed that the peer review meeting scheduled for the 27th had been cancelled. He said it was felt there was not the correct mix around the table and more Councillors and Planners were needed. (Simon was previously Senior Energy Campaigner at Friends of The Earth 1989- 1994 and Commercial Manager at Tridios Bank from 1998 to 2002)
The Protocol for public engagement with proposed wind power developments in England seemed to be directly connected with the Regional Conferences. The Renewable Energy & Community Involvement conference for the North East region (18/03/06 in Newcastle) hosted by the Environment Council and funded by Dti was one of eight held in the English Regions. The main thrust was that there are no disbenefits from wind energy and we must move forward together. The Environment Council, a semi private organisation I understand, gave their presentation which centred on the South West Protocol. It was basically training for Councillors on how to consult with communities under the terms of PPS22.It appeared to, as any 'protocol' does, to lay down a set of rules pre-defining what should happen