Better environmental decisions in the waste and energy sectors

The MiSt Programme

Aim

This project aims at better environmental decisions in the energy and waste sectors. In this context ”better” has two dimensions. First, it refers to a better correspondence between national, regional and local environmental goals on one hand and local planning, decision-making and implementation on the other (environmental effectiveness).  Secondly, it refers to better planning and decision-making processes regarding the participative and democratic dimensions (process effectiveness). The application of various tools could potentially contribute to better environmental decisions both regarding the environmental effectiveness (strategic analytical tools) as well as the process effectiveness (participative process tools). This project will provide an analytical overview of strategic analytical and participative tools for use in decision-making and planning in the waste and energy sectors. In this overview is included; experiences from their use, their environmental focus, their applicability, their interrelation, their development and adaptation to local, regional and national actors and their resource needs.

Problem addressed

In order to form an effective environmental decision-making, this project aims at contributing to a greater consistency between national (and global) environmental ambitions and local environmental aspects by integrating these into planning and decision-making, both at strategic and project levels. However, there seem to be a gap between national environmental ambitions and what is implemented at the local level.

There is an increasing emphasis on public participation in environmental law, which can be observed both in domestic and EU law. In Swedish domestic law, the Planning and Building Act, which was enacted in 1987, manifests the introduction of tools for participation by identifying public hearings and comment periods as mandatory requirements in the preparation of matters for decision. The Swedish Environmental Code, which entered into force on 1 January 1999, continues this trend. In EU law, the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention), which was signed by the EC and the member states in 1998, requires mandatory public hearings in respect of decisions on specific activities.

Realisation

The aim of this project will be accomplished through empirical, retrospective and prospective studies of tool use, environmental effectiveness and tiering and the participative dimension of the realisation of planning/decision-making processes. This will be studied in an integrated manner. Case studies of local planning and decision-making will be performed in order to reveal how the process effectiveness and the environmental effectiveness interrelate. Special attention is given to the national context and aspects of tiering within a hierarchical structure.

Researchers

Mats Eklund, LiU who is active in environmental systems analysis will act as a project leader for this project. Sara Tyskeng has a natural science background and her thesis deals with environmental assessments in EIA and SEA in the energy sector. She is in charge of the studies of environmental effectiveness. Hans Wiklund, Jönköping International Business School, holds a PhD in political science and is responsible for the studies of process effectiveness and public participation. Måns Nilsson, Stockholm environment institute, has a background in economic and political sciences and experience from the energy and waste sectors 

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