The implications of public participation in environmental management and development
, PhD thesis, University of Salford.
Many global problems in society relate to issues of
environment and development. This research explores
different connotations of environmental management and
development. Development models for Third World countries
are found to be most effective when they promote the
participation of people in the communities they serve.
The thesis demonstrates that development is a process
through which members of society develop themselves and
their institutions to enhance their ability to mobilize and
manage resources to produce sustainable and distributed
improvements in their life. The thesis shows that
environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an environmental
management instrument that allows people to participate in
the management of large development proposals. My research
demonstrates that the integration of public participation
for environmental impact assessment makes the ETA process
more meaningful and satisfactory for those who are most
frequently affected by infrastructures and commercial
The thesis reviews European legislation which
identifies major projects such as nuclear and fossil fuel
power stations, coal mines, oil and gas projects, airports, tunnels, barrages, roads and manufacturing plants for
compulsory EIA. The thesis identifies then public
participation as a necessary requirement for these
assessments. My work shows that the existence of NGOs and
other community groups may guarantee more realistic
representation than those circumstances where such groups
are discouraged, prohibited or ill formed because of
inadequate local leadership.
My investigation indicates that grass-roots
participatory movements, in which people are encouraged to
take the initiatives to manage the environment, develop
their expertise and capacity to survive in particular
circumstances are numerous.
In order to investigate EIA in a country well on the
way to industrialisation I examined the environmental
impact assessment of development projects incorporating
public participation in Portugal. I found that public
participation in EIA in Portugal is weak because of
historical political constraints.
Participation is integrated with environmental
management and development in grass-roots sustainable
development initiatives in Africa and Asia. I demonstrated
that local/regional resource management and development is
often promoted from the grass-roots by NGOs with diverse
histories. Some relate to people in different communities who have come together with different degrees of
participation according to their individual, family,
social, economic, political and environmental concerns.
They challenge their situations by making responsible
decisions, planning, implementing and monitoring their
objectives through processes of consultation, action and
reflection. I further demonstrated that community
objectives are achieved through involvement in each stage
of the development process.
If it is believed that human potentials are to be
discovered and developed, then meaningful participation can
realise this by people's active involvement at all level of
society in decision making. I demonstrated that NG0s,
historically, have been effective in this task by removing
obstacles and educating communities to participate.
suggested it is through the promotion of participation
that EIA can exert its effectiveness.
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