This handbook has been produced following discussions at a
workshop on public participation in making local environmental decisions, held
in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom, in December 1999. The workshop was part
of the work programme agreed at the first meeting of Signatories to the Aarhus
Convention earlier that year.
The workshop was financed by the United Kingdom Government
with funds from the Department for International Developments Know How Fund
and from the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions. Over 120
Government, local authority and NGO representatives from 36 countries in
Europe, central Asia and North America attended the workshop. Representatives
from 5 international organisations also attended.
A full list of participants is at Appendix 1.
The handbook was prepared by a team in the UKs Department
of Environment, Transport and Regions, which included an official on secondment
from the Ministry of the Environment, Poland. The Regional Environmental Center
for Central and Eastern Europe researched a set of case studies of public
participation exercises set out in Appendix 3. The handbook draws on these case
studies and the other material discussed at Newcastle in order to identify what
was considered to be good practice.
The team working on the handbook would like to thank
Newcastle City Council for their hospitality during the workshop and all those
who have contributed to this handbook through case studies and comments.
Copies of this handbook have been sent to the national
contact points for the Aarhus Convention. These are listed on the UNECE website
where an electronic copy of the handbook can also be obtained
(www.unece.org/env/pp). A related guide on the implementation of the
Convention1 can also be obtained at this website.