Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Annex 2

THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY: EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR FLOOD DEFENCE PROJECTS

Cone Pill: A Case Study

There were complex and conflicting environmental issues to do with the fact that a mainline railway line had become exposed by erosion of a flood defence. There were numerous engineering options over four years. The landowners were bewildered by all these options and concerned because their livelihood was potentially at risk. There was the threat of high profile campaign and possible delays to project and what was needed was a fair basis for comparison of options.

The Course of Action

  In order to approach the landowners an informal verbal questionnaire was created and Agency staff spent 30 or 40 minutes with each family, asking for views on various options and outcomes. This was possible because there were only a few farming families involved. It was appropriate to do this at this level. It was explained that inevitably there would be some "losers". There was a good reaction to the consultation with the landowners feeling grateful for the personal contact.

Conclusion

  To be effective, the timing and content of public involvement in EIA must be well planned, the techniques appropriate and the feedback recorded. Good consultation should achieve stakeholder ownership/acceptance, reducing risk and give better value and must be capable of contributing to the reasoned argument which underpins EIA.



 
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