1 June 2012

Public Participation, Value Conflict and the Politics of IA - Session II, Presentation 2

Exit and Voice: IA for Accountability and Sustainability

Extent that EA can be used for environmental accountability and sustainability.

Extent with which EU EA processes have done this.

Extent to which NGOS have used the legislation dimple negation of legislation to do this.

 

Historical reflection:

  • EA has changed in terms of its purpose, responded to demands.
  • Also changed in terms of paradigms, changing discourses and policy context has changed.
  • Role of NGOs in this


Using accountability as a lens to examine EA practice

  • Holding to account or take responsibility for actions (compare to legitimacy)
  • Democratic - political, bureaucratic
  • Corporate
  • Professional
Strategy for accountability are:

  • Exit - not buy product, not vote for political party
  • Voice - campaign or protest
NGOs increasingly using EA as a voice to make accountable.

 

Shifting paradigms:

  • Aarhus convention very important for EU
  • Shifts in Directives and EU Treaties
Historic EIA cases:

  • Power station assessed separately from transmission lines whether should have considered together because privatisation has split the national distribution system rom the power plant companies.
  • Public Inquiry overturned the government agency developing a waste disposal repository because of poor EIA, no alternative sites considered and ...
Contemporary SEA cases:

  • Ecotowns
  • National policy statements
  • National policy framework in Scotland
  • High Speed 2 rail scheme
 

HS2 case study:

  • Only looked at London to Birmingham rather than to Manchester and Leeds (salami slicing)
  • No alternatives considered
 

Common threads

  • Is there a need
  • Are alternatives considered
  • Fundamental elements of EIA/SEA seemingly circumvented, why
  • Levers for environmetal advocates to seek accountability
 

Conclusion: changing paradigms, changing purposes...and the future?

  • Changing global governance
  • Increasing demands fro accountability
  • From environmental integration to sustainable development
  • Evolving EA legislation in the EU
 

Framing EA through accountability?

  • Info taken into account
  • IA helps make better decisions, doesn't make decisions for you
  • Effective if more sustainable decisions?
 

Conclusions:

  • Speeding up decision making destined to fail - controversial schemes take a long time because they are controversial
  • Quality of process and assessment
  • Openness to other knowledge to discuss the wider strategic issues
  • New research agenda
 

Q&A

Should we be doing more integrated assessments, caveat that of a Hong Kong public engagement process I was involved wherer NGOs said they hate that word and whe you talk about sustainable development its about compromise and the environment always gets compromised?


  • Depends on the context with which the sustainability and sustainable assessment is used, weak or strong decision making context, a way to push a government or private sector agenda.
  • Challenge that environmental has lost ground in sustainable and integrated assessments.
 

Has there been any study of an individual's role has in the process, professional and personal?

  • Not sure, individuals gave not been theorised as yet.