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UK | 14 February 2022

Public Participation in Environmental Matters in the UK/England & Wales

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Public Participation in Environmental Matters in the UK/England & Wales

Public participation is the engagement by individuals and NGOs with the decision-making structures in society. Effective public participation is critical to improving the quality of governance and gives those likely to be affected by decisions the right to be involved in the decision-making process. However, poorly facilitated public participation can have the opposite effect of disenfranchising affected persons and preventing the transfer of helpful information to the decision-making authority.

This guidance note:

  • Sets out the obligations (arising principally out of the Aarhus Convention) which fall on the government and public authorities regarding when they must seek public participation and what such public participation must involve;
  • Explains how these public participation obligations are relevant to government consultations on issues affecting the environment; and
  • Highlights steps that can be taken if it is considered that a government consultation has been structured unreasonably or unfairly.