Public Participation

Everyone is entitled to get involved when there are decisions to be made about the environment.  The public have a statutory right to environmental information and justice. 

We have these environmental rights because of the European and English regulations that put into effect the UN's Aarhus Convention.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE: what is this?)  The Aarhus Convention (June 1988)  link  UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters: this convention is about public rights regarding the environment.  Public authorities (at national, regional or local level) are required to make the necessary provisions to that these rights become effective.  The public rights are:

  1. Access information about the environment.

  2. Participation in environmental decision-making.

  3. Access to justice: the public right to review procedures to challenge public decisions that have been made without respecting the two aforementioned rights or environmental law in general.

European Commission  The EC's Aarhus Regulation link implements the UN Convention.

Engish implementation of the Aarhus Regulation

  1. Access information about the environment: the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) link to plain English explanation

  2. Participation in environmental decision-making.

  3. Access to justice: this part of the Aarhus Regulation has not been fully implemented in the UK.  Update on present situation on UKELA link 



Localism Act 2011: "The Localism Act includes a number of important provisions: decentralisation and strengthening local democracy, community empowerment a radical re-boot of the planning system including neighbourhood planning changes to social housing policies. "

Further plain language information about English environmental law: