Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Policy implications for enviromental planning

Summary : The project characterized and evaluated environmental dispute resolution procedures. It assessed the utility and validity of incorporating public values in the procedures and how the most effective procedures fit current policy in EU member states. Based on reviews, case studies and workshops, the research designed Stakeholders' Workshops as a means of alternative dispute resolution which produced proposals for improved planning systems.

The research catalogued common criteria needed to make an adequate analysis of any environmental dispute and which any dispute resolution method should incorporate. These comprise: fairness, competence, legitimacy and efficiency. The application of such a grid could help create some of the prerequisites of a rational discourse since each dispute requires an adequate conflict analysis to identify important factors.

Detailed critiques of environmental decision making systems in participating countries were made. Recommendations include: the need to enlarge the scope of impact assessments in environmental planning; incorporation of value-related factors; the early involvement of all relevant parties in the scoping process; the need for a long-term approach to dispute resolution; Europe-wide standards could be sought and the EU could foster a positive image of participatory policy by introducing appropriate elements in policy development, and should have public participation incorporated within its procedures. It might appoint independent experts to develop a guide to the objectives of public participation and participatory methods, examples of best and worst practices and information related to the application of the various methods and their evaluation. A European Institution for public participation would be useful if it had a supporting role and resource-based character.

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United Kingdom
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