Cornwall Council is supporting communities in Cornwall to develop plans to take control of their local energy systems as part of its agreement with the Government for the UK’s first rural Devolution Deal.
The Deal commits the Council and Government to work together to trial new models for community energy, focusing on how local and neighbourhood plans can support local ownership of renewable energy and community-owned heat and create more meaningful links between the energy that is generated in Cornwall and local energy consumers.
These activities officially got underway at last week’s Cornwall Energy Summit in Truro with the launch of the Council’s new Neighbourhood Planning guidance on community energy.
The guidance, entitled ‘Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: a community-led approach’ will ensure that communities can take control of the future of their local energy systems by setting out the types of projects that will be supported and ensuring that local residents and businesses are the beneficiaries.
Answering the question ‘what more can be done to support community energy in Cornwall’, the Summit was attended by representatives of a range of organisations interested in community energy, including Community Energy England, RegenSW, Good Energy the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and representatives of Cornwall’s community energy groups.
Chairing the summit, Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, said “It is great to see Cornwall Council leading the way in supporting community energy groups at what is a difficult time for the sector. Cornwall benefits from significant clean energy resources and the Council believes that the benefits of making use of these resources should be shared with local communities, businesses and residents.”
Speaking at the event, Sarah Newton, Member of Parliament for Truro and Falmouth said “Reducing energy bills and increasing energy security while supporting renewable energy remain key priorities of my work for constituents. I support the parts of Devolution Deal that tackle these issues with people and communities in Cornwall.”
Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, added “The new Neighbourhood Planning guidance is an example of how the Council is using Cornwall Devolution Deal to devolve further control to local communities. Neighbourhood planning is a significant new opportunity for communities to have their say on what happens in their area.”
“By explaining how Neighbourhood Plans can be used to promote community energy the Council is giving communities further tools to help them take action on local issues by developing policies which can lead to new income streams and help to tackle fuel poverty.”
Story posted 18 May 2016