When civil engineering company Spencer Ltd decided to build a renewable power station near Hull city centre, they needed a comms partner with experience in planning application PR who could ensure essential messages about the development would not be polluted with mistruth or rumour.
To avoid this situation developing, we were appointed to manage the public affairs surrounding a planning application for Energy Works, a £150m “green” power station situated on the banks of the River Hull, to the east of the city centre.
The scheme was designed to generate electricity and bio-methane from household and commercial waste. The company intended to bring much of that waste up the River Hull, which would see working barges on that stretch of water for the first time in many years.
Our brief was to see the application through the planning process. The plant was to use state-of-the-art ‘clean’ technology and we were required to present the workings of that technology to the public and planners in a simple yet clear message to reassure them it was safe.
The process involved extensive and ongoing consultation with the media, local MPs, councillors, residents and businesses near to where the power station was earmarked to be built, as well as local and national environmental groups.
We staged consultation events, lobbied the council hard and answered a multitude of difficult questions that we knew would surface from both the press, local people and businesses. And through it all we ensured the messages we put out were factual and clear so even those who were against it were under no illusion as to the benefits of the scheme.
Our campaign achieved positive coverage in the national and regional print and broadcast media, and ensured the decision makers knew how the technology worked, how safe and clean it was, and how the scheme would benefit the local economy. Planning consent was granted on first vote.
The client’s response? “What a fantastic result today. Well done and thank you for your extraordinary efforts.”