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Impact assessment and authorisation procedure for installations with major environmental risks

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Democracy to decide location of waste disposal sites

Local residents are rarely consulted with regard to the selection and authorisation of sites for chemical and waste installations. French researchers have developed and tested tools that, if adopted, will change this.

Climate Change and Environment

The tools aim to promote information exchange and communication between all parties involved, and will allow local populations to take an informed and active part in the selection and authorisation of environmentally sensitive installations in their area. Tests were carried out in six European countries, and included proposals for waste incinerators, landfills and a power plant. Residents at proposed installation sites were given detailed information regarding the incremental health and environmental effects of various pollutants; details of existing health guidelines, and cost comparisons, to help them evaluate various technologies. Questionnaires were used to record their views and preferences, and the results were then communicated to the proposers for consideration in the decision making process, and to the general public. Researchers found that overall, local residents were willing to pay higher taxes in return for cleaner technology. The project is at the proposal stage, and information exchange with other researchers in this area is sought.

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