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Impact Assessment

Functions of public participation in environmental impact assessment:

Bullet pointimproving the accountability of decision-makers to the governed
Bullet pointimproving assessment by incorporating multiple perspectives
Bullet pointimproving the decision by considering these perspectives
Bullet pointincrease credibility and public confidence in final decision


Bullet pointShould be done as early as possible and at each stage
Bullet pointEveryone should be given full information and time to comment
Bullet pointTransparency - the process should be understood and open
Bullet pointFlexibility - ability of decision-makers to respond to comments
Bullet pointBroad community involvement is desirable



Commenting on Proposals

Porter argues that the number of submissions on an EIS, or the ratio of those in favour to those against, is irrelevant because public consulation in the EIA process is not supposed to be a type of mini-referendum. He says "It is the rationality of the argument or the introduction of some unforeseen factor in the public submissions that makes them of value in the assessment."

Public submissions on an EIS may not truly representative of public opinion because most people never put in submissions? People do put in submissions because they are not interested enough, do not have time or do not feel that their submission will make any difference.

The sorts of groups who write submissions on EISs include government departments, environmental and consumer groups, 'special interest' groups and 'action' groups especially formed in response to the proposal. The sorts of people who write submissions seem to be mainly confident middle-class people with access to information and influence.