Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). With case studies from: England, Denmark and New Zealand.

John Scott & Jude M. Ngoran

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt

Abstrakt

In this thesis we are looking at theory and practice of public participation in Environmental Impact Assessment in three countries, namely England, Denmark and New Zealand. The focus is on EIA at project level via case studies. The countries’ legislations were all based on a strong sustainability concept likewise a democracy. If this holds true through these countries then producing environmentally sustainable projects should enable the public to take part in decision-making. The objective of this research was to investigate what level of participation actually occurs in theory and the “real world” and gaining an understanding of better practices, with some recommendations. In regards to investigating how public participation is carried out in the different EIA systems. All three EIA systems are unique as they are linked to particular domestic circumstances or land use and development decision-making processes and reflect the individual nation’s concept of what EIA is and the legal, constitutional and cultural framework in which decision-making takes place. Hence we could only make valued judgements as to whether one system is better than another and it is difficult and even misleading to judge one system against another. In producing reasons for more public participation in the EIA process. This can be seen by the lack of objectivity shown by the Environmental Impact Statements’ from England and New Zealand and interviews in Denmark where reports lack some opinions or concerns during the hearings and a lot of questions raised by the public were left unaccounted. Information needs to be relayed or recorded with integrity and in an honest form. To elaborate on the kinds of more successful public involvement techniques it was concluded that the techniques used should go beyond a one-way flow of information as seen in the cases and from the competent authority/consultant to the public. Hence a two-way flow of information with decision-making roles are needed by the public if the goals of the EIA process are to be achieved. As seen from the case studies a limited two-way flow of information was seen with public meetings (open), additional meetings and public exhibitions. It was also seen that the commitment of the governments to sustainable development could be enhanced if the motivation (original goals) and participatory techniques used to obtain this was not simply to inform affected individuals hence current public participation practices in the EIA are failing to involve the public. Results of further aims reiterate reasons for more public participation. In conclusion the reality of the extent that public participation influences or informs the EIA decision-making process was seen to be limited in all three cases. Alternatives did not appear to get the due diligence they deserved or were sidelined by other agendas, this was seen by the goals set by the authority/proponents and the means or techniques utilised in achieving these goals.

UddannelserTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
SprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2003
VejledereHenning Schroll