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Tactical
Stakeholder
Engagement

Lynemouth Power Limited

Brief

To provide ongoing strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, PR and internal/community relations expertise to support Lynemouth Power Station’s transition from coal-fired power generation to cleaner, renewable electricity production as part of the Government’s net zero and climate change agenda, and reaffirm LPL as a key employer at the forefront of innovation and change within the power industry as well as the North East’s business community.

Background

Lynemouth Power Station was the first power station in the UK to begin the conversion from coal to sustainable biomass electricity production. The project was one of the largest, single renewable energy investments, and most ambitious civil engineering and industrial development projects in the North East (and country) at the time.

The £420m investment programme included the construction of new, dedicated unloading and fuel handling facilities at the Port of Tyne, the reopening of the trainline direct from the port to the power station, the creation of six new, 194ft high silos storing approximately 50,000 tonnes of wood pellets onsite, and the upgrading. modification and installation of new innovative technologies and specialist equipment. This created 800+ jobs within the supply chain and boosted spend within the local economy.

Now complete, the site employs circa 150 staff and successfully generates enough clean power to supply approximately 450,000 homes.

Challenge

Lynemouth Power Station epitomised the old heavy industries that forged the North East region and South East Northumberland coastline for decades. Whilst the conversion to renewable energy was very positive in terms of efforts to reduce carbon emissions, it also meant significant changes for the plant, its staff, supply chain partners and the local community, and therefore continuous two-way engagement and information-led activities were needed to maintain support and answer many questions. 

Similarly, the general understanding of biomass wood pellets and its use as a low carbon energy was (and often is) very mixed despite having to meet strict sustainability criteria. Furthermore, questions were also being raised by the surrounding communities regarding the reopening of the train line, the potential impact of this and whether jobs could be at risk after the conversion was complete.

Strategy

Proactive and regular educational messaging and continuous dialogue with stakeholders was required at every stage of the project to keep all parties fully informed of progress and plans, and to manage any concerns and expectations.

Fusion activities for LPL also supported the global launch of The Glasgow Declaration of Sustainable Bioenergy at COP26 in Glasgow. Lynemouth Power Limited was one of 13 international wood bioenergy organisations announcing a vision for the sector’s ambitious growth whilst pledging their full commitment to tackling climate change to aid net zero targets. The coalition announced a world-first standard with sustainability principles at its core as part of a framework to underpin the industry moving forward.

Audiences

UK Government, MPs, local authorities, industry leaders, the business community, trade bodies, environmental groups, regional development agencies, site employees, supply chain delivery partners, local residents, communities and the media.

Activities

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Strategic communications
  • Public relations
  • Crisis communications
  • Employee relations
  • Community relations
  • Media relations
  • Social media management
  • Creative design