Planning and regulating mechanisms for renewable energy technologies : a literature review

Judith Parks

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


This working paper arises from Northumbria University’s literature review (work package 1.1) within the TSEC (Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy) project, “Beyond NIMBYism: a multidisciplinary investigation of public engagement with renewable energy technologies”. The paper is one of four working papers produced by project partners. The other papers are reviews of “participatory-deliberative engagement”, “NIMBYism” and “public perceptions of energy”. Beddoe and Chamberlin (2003: 5) define planning as ‘the process by which Government resolves disputes about land uses’. This working paper examines land-use planning and policy development relating to energy technologies in the UK. It begins by outlining the land use planning system in the UK, including opportunities for public consultation, and taking account of recent changes. It then summarises energy policy in the UK, again taking account of recent changes, beginning by outlining Government energy targets, and then exploring how the Government seeks to promote renewable energy in particular. The next section explores national policy instruments relevant to renewable energy planning, first covering strategic instruments (Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)/ Sustainability Appraisal and the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)) and then instruments which apply to specific projects (the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)). The following section details the planning process for energy developments, beginning with an overview, and then giving a breakdown of the planning procedure first for electricity infrastructure (overhead power lines and power stations), and then for the six renewable energy technologies focussed upon (onshore wind, offshore wind, marine, biomass, solar/ photovoltaics (PV), and hydro at both the small and large scale). It takes account of differing procedures across the devolved administrations, exploring how planning decisions are made, detailing the consents required and the different stages of development in each case. It explores relevant statutory consultation procedures that have been set within the framework of established national and strategic planning guidance, and identifies any official or recognized points and mechanisms of engaging the public during the planning process. The final section summarises the key points about the potential for community involvement in the planning of renewable energy developments.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherUniversity of Manchester
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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