New ways to engage: RIF Workshops
RIF Workshops: 20th and 21st of June, Suffolk/Norfolk and Hertfordshire – see end of the post for more details…
Last year we worked with a group of Cambridgeshire Councils, Sustainability East and environmental consultancy Verco to help create a Renewable Infrastructure Framework. You can read about some of the background for this here.
What’s a RIF you may ask? It’s a set of agreements, based on an established technical baseline, which helps manage the complexity of planning for infrastructure – particularly necessary where you have a politically sensitive topic like renewable infrastructure. We designed a very open and co-productive approach to the engagement work which involved researching and connecting people who were already interested and in some cases invested in this agenda and then adjusting for the fact that the final output had to be representative of the wider public and not just the activists.
We are very excited about the process, as were the participants – and we think it explored a new approach to community engagement that blends digital and offline events in an innovative and effective way.
We are really pleased to be partnering with one of the funders of the project, Sustainability East in order to run two workshops that will pass on some of the learning and enthusiasm that was gathered as part of the Cambridgeshire RIF project (CRIF). It is a fantastic opportunity to share good practice and allow space for open thinking and understanding. The aim is firstly to give the practical overview and outline the benefits of creating a Renewable Infrastructure Framework, but also to expose people to the engagement approach and the more co-productive way of working that we achieved in the project. The follow up research has indicated that participants were positive about a different way of working and the whole workshop will focus on how we involved different groups, with different motivations in complex processes.
Here’s David Webb, of Sustainability East, talking about the RIF and the CRIF…
Since the end of the CRIF work Sustainability East has been working with the Planning and Climate Change Coalition in developing new ‘Guidance for local authorities – planning for climate change’. This document gives detailed guidance on principles that can underpin plan-making and development management in the context of the new National Planning Policy Framework. The CRIF is the only case study in this national document and there is explicit reference in the guidance to involving stakeholders, understanding the issues and developing an integrated strategic response to renewable energy so as to maximise the opportunities.
You can find out more about the events here:-