Recent trends and developments in dialogue on radioactive waste management: experience from the UK.
ABSTRACT This paper highlights some recent trends and developments in dialogue on radioactive waste management in the UK. In particular, it focuses on the use of dialogue around options for the management of risk, and describes techniques for stakeholder dialogue in the field of radioactive waste management. The paper summarises past and on-going experience in the UK, and provides an overview of some practical examples from decommissioning of the former reprocessing facility at Dounreay in Scotland. In common with developments and trend in other countries, the UK has moved to a position where there is now widespread recognition that radioactive waste management requires not only sound technical assessment of risk, but also public participation, consultation and stakeholder dialogue on proposed solutions and the associated risks. In fact, the shift of position has arguably been quite pronounced, with formal procedures to identify, clarify and integrate stakeholders' issues and concerns within the decision-making processes. Experience suggests that citizens are capable of engaging with complex technical issues such as radioactive waste. Indeed, the earlier in the decision-making process that public and stakeholder engagement (PSE) occurs--for example, on the consideration of options and alternatives--the greater the chance of reaching a successful outcome that properly reflects the values and opinions of stakeholders. In the UK, the assessment of alternative waste management options is increasingly being addressed through Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO) studies. Responses to stakeholder engagement processes and experience of conducting BPEO studies emphasise that consultation must be open, transparent, deliberative and inclusive. However, while early consideration of generic approaches and option choices is necessary to generate a climate of openness and understanding, it remains essential to fully engage with local stakeholder and community groups to consider issues associated with proposed developments at a site-specific level. An interesting area where further attention may be warranted is the use in final decision-making of the results from participatory processes such as BPEO studies. Demonstrating clearly that participants' views have influenced decisions appears to be essential for retaining legitimacy and trust, confidence and goodwill.
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ABSTRACT: Projects for the long‐term disposal of radioactive waste have often been hampered by strong local and regional opposition. Public participation has been recognized as a means to cope with this problem. Advocates promoting extensive public participation suggest various, mostly distinct, involvement techniques that are claimed to cover all needs. However, public participation is still a controversial issue. Several key questions need to be answered: why and when should who be involved, by whom, using which technique, and with which expected outcome? Here, a procedure with a functional‐dynamic view of public participation is proposed that combines the decision‐making process (DMP) with specific types and extents of public participation. We distinguish four discrete levels of public participation, namely information, consultation, collaboration, and empowerment. We argue that these levels of participation must fit the corresponding technical and non‐technical requirements of the different phases of the DMP and illustrate our arguments using a proposed site selection process for nuclear waste. This means that the type and the extent of public participation vary over the time span of a long‐term DMP.Journal of Risk Research 10/2010; 13(7):861-875. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite their increasing use in the creation of environmental policy, the routine public consultations in the UK are little studied. The public consultation to the Climate Change Act 2008 was examined in order to identify the rationales which key actors such as government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual citizens use to justify citizen participation in climate policy. The interactions between these rationales and the consultation design were also considered. Rationales for participation were based on Stirling's (2005) distinction between normative, instrumental and substantive rationales. It was found that the government's rationale for citizen participation was both normative and instrumental. Different NGOs justified it, to varying degrees, primarily in instrumental and normative terms, although there was also evidence for a substantive rationale. Most individual interviewees thought of their participation in normative terms, while also striving to make substantial contributions. However, many were also sceptical as to their potential influence and thus justified their engagement in instrumental terms. Consultation design mainly engaged those stakeholders already involved in the policy process, and substantive citizen participation largely required the help of NGOs. A closer match is needed between the government's normative rationale, citizen's substantive intent and the consultation design. Malgré leur emploi de plus en plus répandu dans la formulation des politiques environnementales, les consultations publiques de routine au Royaume-Uni font l'œuvre de peu d'études. La consultation publique pour la Climate Change Act 2008 fut examinée de sorte d'identifier la manière de légitimer la participation citoyenne dans la politique climatique selon les acteurs clés tels que gouvernements, organisations non-gouvernementales (ONGs) et citoyens. Le lien entre ces principes et le schéma de la consultation furent aussi pris en compte. Les principes de participation sont basés sur une distinction faite par Stirling (2005) entre les trois fonctions de délibération : normative, instrumentale et substantive. Il a été constaté que les délibérations du gouvernement pour la participation citoyenne sont à la fois normatives et instrumentales. Les délibérations des ONGs suivent de différents degrés une logique essentiellement instrumentale ou normative, bien qu'une logique substantive soit aussi manifeste. La plupart des individus interviewés conçoivent leur participation de manière normative, tout en recherchant une portée substantive. Cependant, un grand nombre d'entre eux sont sceptiques quant au degré de leur influence et de ce fait justifient leur engagement de manière instrumentale. La planification des consultations mobiliseise surtout ces parties prenantes déjà impliquées dans le processus politique, et une participation citoyenne substantielle dépend largement du soutien des ONGs. Une correspondance plus étroite est nécessaire entre logique normative du gouvernement, intention citoyenne substantive et planification de la consultation.Climate Policy 12/2009; 10(3):261-276. · 1.11 Impact Factor