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We now provide some areas of advice when developing your materials that will be used to carry out your community engagement activities.

  • Depending on the scale of your project, you should look to engage with a range of stakeholder groups. Organisations representing local public interests should be a key target. This could include community groups, community councils, and local businesses. These organisations will have a range of priorities for public charging infrastructure. For example, community organisations will look to ensure that infrastructure meets the needs of residents, and fits within the local context – this may include heritage and design considerations. Community transport operators may also be interested to see whether public charging infrastructure could be designed to support the operation of community transport services. Businesses may be interested in the proposed locations for the infrastructure for use by their own vehicles, as well as the potential impact it could have on customer footfall for them.

  • As the number of public charging infrastructure developments across Scotland continues to grow, there will be a growing body of evidence of community engagement approaches that have been particularly successful. We therefore recommend that you refer to best practice examples when designing your community engagement strategy. It may be particularly useful to learn from previous infrastructure developments from a similar geographical area. It may also be useful to learn from the experiences of other types of projects, for example construction projects, as approaches to community engagement will be broadly similar and the learnings equally relevant.

    We will be continuously looking to find information on such best practice examples of this as part of our development of this guidance. So do also refer back to this regularly to check for updates that may be relevant to projects you are developing.

  • Community engagement is most effective when it includes a diverse range of stakeholders. Gathering input from such a broad group at the beginning of the project should mean your final infrastructure design satisfies the needs of a wide range of people in the community. This in turn should mean that the infrastructure experiences higher usage levels, making it more sustainable. It’s therefore important to select a blend of engagement tools designed to include different stakeholder groups. It’s also important you carefully design engagement tools so that people with disabilities and vulnerabilities are fully included in the process. Some example approaches to community engagement designed to encourage diversity and inclusion include holding in-person events for older people with less developed IT skills; using carefully chosen online tools where participation isn’t limited by a person’s ability to use a mouse; and providing contact details to enable follow-up feedback after engagement events for those uncomfortable expressing themselves in larger groups.

  • In our information gathering activity for the electric vehicle infrastructure programme, stakeholders suggested that engagement should be adapted on a case-by-case basis, taking account of each area’s particular circumstances. Factors that will vary from place to place include demographics, population density, geography, building types and level of deprivation amongst many other considerations. These are likely to interact with each other in different ways, with an approach that is effective in one area not working as well in another as a result.

  • Any communications you send out encouraging stakeholders to engage in the process should be designed to be as easy to understand as possible. This means keeping the information concise, using simple language, avoiding acronyms where possible, and incorporating explanatory images eg infographics.

    The example image shown below has been taken from Energy Saving Trust’s social media feed. In this case the post is advertising an online webinar for businesses. As you can see the information is kept concise, bullet points have been used to make the information more digestible, the acronym used (LEZ) has been clearly expanded in its first use, and the image conveys the key focus for the webinar.

    At Energy Saving Trust, we have found this style of promotional material has been effective at encouraging people to attend events.

Social media communication material developed for a low emission zone preparation webinar organised by Energy Saving Trust.