British Wind Energy Association

Consultation guidelines for offshore wind farms

Have you ever sat down with a large group of people and tried to draft a document that everyone can sign up to?


So we always thought a piece of kit which facilitated this would be a good idea, and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) gave us the first chance to prove it.











Copyright © 2002 Dialogue by Design

The BWEA wanted to create a set of best practice guidelines for carrying out public consultation around offshore wind energy developments. We carried out the project in a number of stages.

First of all, we facilitated a face-to-face meeting with some of the key stakeholders including the Crown Estate (which governs development around our coastline), the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), planners, and other users of the sea. This meeting established what the guidelines should cover and identified some of the points that would need to be resolved if everybody was to endorse the guidelines at the end of the process.

We then went away and wrote a first draft of the document. Fortunately the drafting of public consultation guidelines is something we are well used to, so this stage did not take too long.

Next, the draft guidelines were published on a website within our document collaboration software. It works like this: we divide the document into sections, and ask at each section a question such as 'What would have to change in this section for you to be able to agree with It?' and we give participants space to suggest the wording they would prefer.

At the end of the session we take the website down, collate and group the comments. This enables us to revise the draft document. Then we put it back on the website and ask people to comment on the revised version. If people have no further comments, we ask them to endorse the document.

In the case of the BWEA guidelines we went through two or three drafts before reaching a document that most of those involved felt able to endorse. The published document was launched at the BWEA annual conference.