The Wyton Road Renewable Energy Project is a solar farm development proposed for land between the villages of Preston and Bilton in East Yorkshire, just a short distance from Hull’s eastern boundary.

Once operational, the project will generate 49.99 MW of electricity – enough to power around 16,000 homes. The scheme also includes a state-of-the-art Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) which ensures energy generated during the day can be stored and fed into the National Grid during the hours of darkness.

Developer GAMCAP appointed us as communications partner due of our local knowledge and experience of working on similar projects.

GAMCAP came to us with a blank sheet, requiring an end-to-end communications solution from announcing the development to submitting the planning application.

The Solution

Our first action was to set out the timelines for the communications strategy. The client had a firm date by which they wanted the planning application to be submitted, so working backwards from this provided us with the timescales to work to.

This was followed by:

  • Mapping of all stakeholders including relevant councillors, NGOs, and associated groups.
  • Determining the messaging around the project. One particular issue for the community was the sense of being swallowed up by the city of Hull and encroaching industrial development, and that this development added to that. However, we were able to overcome this by explaining that the solar farm would actually protected the communities from further development for up to 40 years.
  • Daily, ongoing social media monitoring.
  • A project website.
  • Media assets including a press release, imagery, and crib sheet of difficult questions and how to answer them.
  • Informational pop-up banners for the public consultation.

Once these were in place, invitations were sent to tier one stakeholders so they could be briefed by project team about the development, and arrangements were put in place for the public consultation event.

Public Reception

Although the inevitable questions common to this type of development arose – mainly around the loss of productive farmland as well as concerns about HGV movements during the construction phase – the general reception to the development fell somewhere between acceptance and welcoming.

The majority of attendees supported the need for cleaner sources of energy, and the messaging around the lack of noise generated by the solar farm, the lack of traffic movements onsite, the visual mitigation that would take place, the creation of new habitat to increase biodiversity, and the fact the site could not be used for housing for many years, seemed persuasive.

The public consultation was not plain sailing – they never are – but neither was there an outcry against the project, which was a positive sign.

The reception from key stakeholders aligned with the public perception.

The press release was distributed shortly after the planning application was submitted to avoid the media picking up the story from the local authority planning portal, which could have led to us losing control of the narrative.

A risk with all campaigns such as this is that journalists go to the local community to dig up a negative story, and although this cannot be ruled out or controlled, if the company acts with integrity and honesty during the consultation process, there is less chance of a damaging story emerging.

Managing this process on this occasion, however, lead to blanket positive or neutral coverage of the scheme in all key media.

Social media monitoring continued for a number of weeks after the planning application was validated but generated little in the way of criticism, so was scaled down.


By instigating a proactive comms strategy early on that including relevant key stakeholders, and with the judicious management of the messaging, we were able to ensure the majority of consultees were accepting of the Wyton Road Renewable Energy Project, even if they had their reservations.

It is rare that any development is universally supported, particularly one that is close to human settlements, so in light of that, this was a good result.

Comprehensive Communications Strategy

Douglas Gardner, Director of GAMCAP, said: “tprc. provided a comprehensive communications strategy that enable the development team to engage positively and proactively with all key stakeholders, helping us to galvanise support for the scheme in important areas, and to allay fears in others.

“The strategy covered everything from identifying and speaking to key influencers to creating a project website, monitoring social media, organising and attending the public consultation, and media relations, and was effective in helping us get our messages across.

“As well as this, the team at tprc. were easy to work with and on hand at all times when input was needed. We would recommend tprc. to any company requiring professional communications services around a planning application.”

To find out more about how we can support your planning application, get in touch 07868 359016 or email