Challenges to the Aarhus Convention: Public Participation in the Energy Planning Process in the United Kingdom

Raphael Heffron, Paul Haynes

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This article examines the tension between the democratic right of public participation on specific environmental issues, guaranteed by European Law, and the degree to which it is being challenged in the UK as a consequence of recent approaches to energy infrastructure planning. Recent trends in UK government policy frameworks seem both to threaten effective public participation and challenge EU planning strategy, in particular those outlined in the Aarhus convention. The research outlined in this study involves an assessment of the changing context of planning and energy policy, in addition to recent changes in legislation formulation in the UK. The research findings, derived from an extensive interview process of elite stakeholders engaged in policy and legislation formulation in the UK and the EU provide a new categorisation system of stakeholders in energy policy that can be utilised in future research. The article concludes with a second order analysis of the interviewee data and provides solutions to increase public participation in the planning of energy infrastructure that emerge from the different perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-247
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • Public participation; Aarhus Convention; planning policy

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