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Crisis

WBB Minerals

Project

Following the submission of a planning application to significantly extend one of its clay quarries in Devon, WBB Minerals (now known as Sibelco UK) was subject to extensive criticism from a highly active local anti-campaign. Eco-warriors had encamped on the proposed site of the quarry extension and media coverage in the local press had been predominantly negative.

Our role

Proteus was appointed by the company to handle the local and regional communications following the planning application’s call-in for a Public Inquiry. As a well-organised local movement against the proposal was already in place and a media bias existed against the company, with the protestors setting the agenda, it was imperative for Proteus to devise a strategy which would provide results quickly.

The key strategy implemented was to enhance the reputation of the company through the broad scale education of opinion formers and objective members of the public. The aim was also to isolate the protesters and in so doing generate a fuller appreciation by local opinion formers and the media of why and how the proposal should be pursued.

Direct contact was established with key local opinion formers to correct planning myths and ensure informed debate. Local media were also targeted to stop ‘company bashing’ stories and regain neutrality and reasoned debate.

Achievements