Client: Department of Energy and Climate Change

A rigorous and systematic evidence-based review of factors affecting infrastructure siting in local areas for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The Review was conducted in response to an absence of a clear understanding and synthesis of the current evidence around the placement and public acceptance of energy infrastructure.The Review focused on implications for practice and policy. It can be used as an introduction to the field and a source of evidence for infrastructure siting.

Placewise was commissioned by DECC to produce a rigorous and systematic review of factors affecting infrastructure siting in local areas. Placewise worked with planning expert, Professor Richard Cowell of Cardiff University.

We reviewed 190 sources.

Our Review concluded that:

  • Successful infrastructure siting is associated with legitimacy and trust. Legitimacy and trust can be fostered by early dialogue and engagement.
  • Providing feedback to communities is important. Feedback increases trust and social acceptance.
  • Community renewable energy projects often attract higher levels of public support than commercial schemes. However, this does not mean community energy projects easily obtain planning consent.
  • 100% commercially owned schemes are not very popular. It takes more time for them to go through planning.
  • Government departments can work with communities to enable community led or shared ownership projects.
  • Community or shared ownership schemes could become widely available for all infrastructure types.
  • There is little evidence that community benefits make local publics more supportive of infrastructure development. However, they can contribute to the perceived fairness of installing new infrastructure in local areas.
  • Spatial zoning strategies are useful to coordinate the concerns of major stakeholders but they do not eliminate public objections.
  • Developers might achieve greater local social acceptability for projects if they site and design them in ways that work with, rather than against, local identities and place attachments.

Placewise Infrastructure Siting Report for DECC


Highly comprehensive and comprehensible.

David Brown

Strategic Analyst, DECC