Draft PPS18: Renewable Energy
Annex 3 Community Benefits: Community Benefits Outside of the Planning Process
2.1 It is perfectly acceptable for a business to enter into a legally binding agreement with third parties to deliver particular and agreed benefits to the community. The Department would advocate this approach as it separates, more clearly, community benefits from the planning decision. It is important that the developer is able to identify suitable local representative people or organisations with whom it can negotiate. If there are funds to be administered then an appropriately constituted and regulated body must be identified or created.
2.2 Such benefits offered to local communities could take the form of one or more of:
- in-kind benefits such as the construction of a needed community facility;
- a lump sum financial payment for the benefit of the community;
- annual payments to the community; and/or
- a commitment from the developer to use local labour and/or contractors/services wherever possible.
2.3 It is, however, considered to be essential that:
- benefits are negotiated with appropriate and representative persons or bodies;
- benefits are channelled through a regulated and properly constituted body or trust (this could include the local authority);
- benefits are utilised for an agreed range of appropriate uses that would all fall within the definition of sustainable development;
- at least part of any annual payment benefits should be invested in carbon; and
- emissions reduction measures in the local community.
2.4 It must be clear that the provision of benefits is on a purely voluntary basis with no connection to the planning application process.