Public Participation in Making Local Environmental Decisions


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 Development’s ‘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 UK’s 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 ( A related guide on the implementation of the Convention1 can also be obtained at this website.