Public Involvement Techniques

From EIA_Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

There are a number of public involvement techniques used in Environmental Impact Assessment.

Contents

Tools and Techniques

The following is a list of the tools and techniques used in Public Involvement based on their level of public involvement in the EIA process (Source: International Environmental Management Association, 1999).

Education and Information Provision

The following table provides a list of the tools and techniques for Education and Information Provision, as well as a description f their use and their advantages and disadvantages in public involvement.

Technique Description and Use Advantage Disadvantages
Leaflets/ Brochures Used to convey information. Care should be taken in distribution. Can reach a wide audience, or be targeted. Information may not be understood or be misinterpreted.
Newsletters May involve a series of publications. Care should be taken in distribution. Ongoing contact, flexible format, can address changing needs and audiences. Not everyone will read a newsletter.
Unstaffed Exhibits/Displays Set up in public areas to convey information. Can be viewed at a convenient time and at leisure. Graphics can help visualise proposals. Information may not be understood or be misinterpreted.
Local Newspaper Article Conveys information about a proposed activity. Potentially cheap form of publicity. A means of reaching a local audience. Circulation may be limited.
National Newspaper Article Conveys information about a proposed activity. Potential to reach a very large audience. Unless an activity has gained a national profile, it will be of limited interest.
Site Visits Provides first hand experience of an activity and related issues. Issues brought to life through real examples. Difficult to identify a site which replicates all issues.

Information Feedback

The following table provides a list of the tools and techniques for Information Feedback, as well as a description of their use and their advantages and disadvantages in public involvement.

Technique Description and Use Advantage Disadvantages
Staffed Exhibits/Displays Set up in public areas to convey information. Staff available. Can be viewed at a convenient time and at leisure. Graphics can help visualise proposals. Groups can be targeted. Requires a major commitment of staff time.
Staffed telephone lines Can phone to obtain information, ask questions or make comments about proposals or issues Easy for people to participate and provide comments. Promotes a feeling of accessibility. May not be as good as face-to-face discussions. Staff may not have knowledge to respond to all questions.
Internet Used to provide information or invite feedback. On-line forums and discussion groups can be set up. Potential global audience. Convenient method for those with internet access. Not all parties will have access to the Internet.
Public Meetings Used to exchange information and views. Can meet with other stakeholders. Demonstrates proponent is willing to meet with other interested parties. Can be complex, unpredictable and intimidating. May be hijacked by interest groups.
Surveys, Interviews and Questionnaires Used for obtaining information and opinions. May be self-administered, conducted face-to-face, by post or telephone. Confidential surveys may result in more candid responses. Can identify existing knowledge and concerns. Response rate can be poor. Responses may not be representative and opinions change.

Involvement & Consultation

The following table provides a list of the tools and techniques for Involvement & Consultation, as well as a description of their use and their advantages and disadvantages in public involvement.

Technique Description and Use Advantage Disadvantages
Workshops Used to provide background information, discuss issues in detail and solve problems. Provides an open exchange of ideas. Can deal with complex issues and consider issues in-depth. Can be targeted. Only a small number of individuals can participate. Full range of interests not represented.
Open-House Location provided, e.g. at a site or operational building, for people to visit, learn about a proposal and provide feedback. Can be visited at a convenient time and at leisure. Preparation for and staffing of the open house may require considerable time and money.

Extended Involvement

The following table provides a list of the tools and techniques for Extended Involvement, as well as a description of their use and their advantages and disadvantages in public involvement.

Technique Description and Use Advantage Disadvantages
Community Advisory/Liaison Groups People representing particular interests or areas of expertise, e.g. community leaders, meet to discuss issues. Can consider issues in detail and highlight the decision-making process and the complexities involved. Not all interests may be represented. Requires on-going commitment from participants.
Citizen Juries Group of citizens brought together to consider an issue. Evidence received from expert witnesses. Report produced, setting out the views of the jury. Can consider issues in detail and in a relatively short period of time. Not all interests may be represented. Limited time may be available for participants to fully consider information received.
Visioning Used to develop a shared vision of the future. Develops a common view of future needs. Lack of control over the outcome. Needs to be used early in the decision -making process.

Communication Techniques

The following table provides a list of techniques for communicating with the public, including the communication characteristics and what public participation objectives they meet.

Communication Characteristics*
Public Participation/ Communication Technique
Pubic Information and Participation Objectives
Level of Public Contact Achieved Ability to handle Specific Interests Degree of 2-way Comm. Inform/ Educate Identify Problems/ Values Get Ideas/ Solve Problems Feedback Evaluate Resolve Conflict/ Consensus
2 1 1 Public Hearings
X
X

2 1 2 Public Meetings X X
X

1 2 3 Informal Small Group Meetings X X X X X X
2 1 2 General Public Information Meetings
X



1 2 2 Presentation to Community Organization X X
X

1 3 3 Information Coordination Seminars X

X

1 2 1 Operating Field Offices
X X X X
1 3 3 Local Planning Visits
X
X X
3 1 2 Public Displays X
X X

2 1 2 Model Demonstration Projects X

X X X
3 1 1 Material for Mass Media X




1 3 2 Response to Public Inquiries X




3 1 1 Press Releases Inviting Comments X

X

1 3 1 Letter Requests for Comments

X X

1 3 3 Workshops
X X X X X
1 3 3 Advisory Committee
X X X X
1 3 3 Task Forces
X X
X
1 3 3 Employment of Community Residents
X X

X
1 3 3 Community Interest Advocates

X
X X
1 3 3 Ombudsman or Representative
X X X X X
2 3 1 Public Review of Initial Assessment Decision Document X X X X X X
  • Level of participation: 1 = low, 2 = medium, 3 = high.

References

Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (1999), Draft Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making. Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment, Lincoln, UK.

Navigation Menu
Information Resources
Toolbox