PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL DECISION MAKING
MICHAEL K. EWING
B. Tech. (Hons) Grad. Dip. Env. Protection (Hons)
The development of public participation (PP) practice and supportive legislation, the spirit of which is encapsulated in Principle 10 and Agenda 21, moved a stage further in Europe with the Aarhus Convention, which in turn has instigated a raft of new legislation.
This Study looks at the forces shaping the PP debate, including the historical legislative perspective; the tools available to PP practitioners; the particular case of PP in the EIA process; methods for measuring capacity; and finally a survey of the experiences, attitudes, and capacities of the main stakeholders in Ireland, with regard to PP in environmental decision-making (EDM).
There were clearly differences in experience and perception between the stakeholder groups, yet only a small minority of the total sample was in favour of excluding the public from EDM processes.
Further comparisons between the stakeholder groups are made and discussed. In the light of the literature review, recommendations are made for further assessing the status of Principle 10 implementation in Ireland, and for looking at realistic capacity building measures.