Participation and consultation in the SEA processDipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Ambientale e ArchitetturaVia Marengo 2, 09124 Cagliari, Italy Federica Isola and Cheti Pira
SummaryThe aim of the researchResearch’s TopicParticipation in the SEA DirectiveParticipation in Sardinian case studiesConclusions
the aim of the researchThe 42/2001/CE Directive has introduced a change of perspective in the approach tospatial planning, in which Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a fundamentaltool in the construction of knowledge. To fulfil this objective successfully, spatialplanning and assessment must entail full integration but this does not happen during thecurrent process.This presentation discusses some important elements of participation and consultationin planning and in the SEA process, with particular reference to a number ofapplications of the SEA process of the city Masterplans of a series of Sardinianmunicipalities.
Research’s TopicThe SEA, if applied properly, can ensure theadoption of an appropriate decision in termsof sustainability.This implies that in addition to the consideration of the effects of a decision, it is necessaryto satisfy certain procedural parameters, previously defined, such as the explanation of anopen dialogue with the public or the involvement of technical authorities able to provideappropriate data to increase the wealth of knowledge available to the decision maker,leaving open the possibility of changing the decision. To ensure involvement of all local stakeholders local governments play a key role in the evaluation of various general interests.
Research’s Topic_Some important referencesThe Agenda 21The Agenda 21 document, signed at the Rio Conference defined participation as a vital element forsustainable development: it argues, that sustainable development can only be achieved through ademocratic, process based on a proactive approach to planning at all levels of government.The right of citizens to participation in public decisions must be applied during all stages of thedecision making process.Aarhus ConventionThe involvement of citizens is achieved firstly through their awareness of political decisions and theimpacts these decisions have and, secondly, through the opportunity to take an active part in thedecision-making process.Historically, the Aarhus Convention has introduced significant progress for participation required in thedefinition of public policies: it states that the involvement of local communities can be effective atdifferent levels, each capable of increasing the capacity of citizens to influence policy with specificobjectives of sharing. It starts from a first level of civic activism, through communication andinformation (informed participation); a later stage concerns a systematic way of collecting andrepresenting the views of citizenship issues (consultative participation); involvement becomes ashared project when decisions are made based on the interests of more the one different stakeholders(joint planning).
Research’s Topic_Some important referencesEuropean Landscape ConventionA new way of understanding participation in the processes of planning was introduced in 2000 bythe European Landscape Convention. It highlights the importance of public participationprocedures to regional and local authorities and others involved in the design andimplementation of local policies. It recognizes the important role of the views and expectations ofmembers of the public in the attribution of value to resources.Traditional observations made by citizens to already formed urban plans and environmentalassessment processes made by expert-administrators are not examples of real participation: asystematic approach is necessary, one that considers the involvement of qualified witnesses to beessential because they hold information on topics relevant to the decision.
Participation in the SEA DirectiveThe SEA Directive introduced SEA to the European Community Legislation establishes aparticipation level of consultation (art. 6 of the Directive) of the public by the authorities owing tothe authorities specific environmental responsibilities.The public shall be given an early and realistic opportunity within appropriate time frames toexpress opinions on the draft plan or proposal and the accompanying environmental report beforethe adoption of the plan or proposal or its submission to the legislative procedure.Including the public affected or likely to be affected by, or having an interest in, the decision-makingsubject to this Directive, including relevant non-governmental organisations, such as thosepromoting environmental protection and other organisations concerned. Critical points for the implementation of the SEA Directive The definition of the public is vague and Member States are left to interpret it "accordingto national legislations and practices" (art. 2, lett. d). Several participation methods are used by the Member States but only a few have setclear deadlines for the duration of public consultation.
Participation in Sardinian case studiesSardinia was the first Italian region to adopt an Regional Landscape Plan (RLP) in 2006by Regional Government Decree n. 36/7. Sardinian municipalities are adapting their cityMasterplans to the RLP for which SEA is a compulsory process according to national rule.In order to help municipalities in adapting to RLP the local government of Sardinia set up aspecific Guidelines Manual (Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, 2010, named as “GL” from now on)for the SEA of city Masterplans; they integrated, at least formally, the planning process establishedby the Regional Law of 22 December 1989, n. 45, "Rules for the use and protection of the region"with the SEA procedure provided by national rule.The GL, regarding participation, describe the ways in which to conduct the process ofparticipation:for each phase of the SEA process they identified how to conduct participatory moments (numberof meetings suggested, actors to be invited).In this paper we have analysed the ways in which the theme of participation is addressed inthe preliminary stage and in the preparation of the environmental report from twopoints of view.The first is from the GL, the second is derived from the analysis of case studies, the SEA of the cityMasterplan.
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseThe scoping phase is a fundamental moment in the process of evaluation;It has the purpose of defining the conceptual and operational references for environmentalassessment, both in terms of indications of procedures and analytical indications.The EU Directive on the SEA, does not explicitly describe a scoping or orientation phase butdeclares that Member States must appoint authorities with specific environmental competence(Article 6, paragraph 3) and consult them when deciding on the scope of information and to includein the environmental report their level of detail (Article 4 paragraph 3).The Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, in the first version, art. 9 c. 4, declares that these preliminarysteps must be initiated by the party making the proposal during discussions with the competentauthority. Legislative Decree no. 4/2008 article 13. c.1 clarifies that the phases of consultationbetween proceeding authorities and competent authorities must be made from thephases of the preliminary processing of plans and programs, based on a preliminaryreport on their possible and significant environmental impact.
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseAccording to GL, during the scoping meetings the following things should be shown: how to conduct the SEA process, methodology for environmental analysis (components involved in the implementation of the city Masterplan, indicators, method of analysis, etc.), method of operation of the process of participation and approval of the list of parties involved in the process (parties responsible for the environment, public and interested public) and the contents of the environmental report.In order to arrive at the construction of a shared plan, the participatory process should be startedat an early stage of the processing of the city Masterplan. Critical points in the GLThe first critical point in the GL for this phase, is the non-involvement, but only the identification,the public and interested public.
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseCritical points in the Sardinian case studies public participation is limited at a later stage in the adoption of the city Masterplan! are involved only the parties responsible for the environment trough traditionalmethodology based in submission of the scoping document, followed by an opendiscussion and the verbalization of observations.! (The GL also propose a questionnaire for the interested parties, through which theyraise questions about the ways with which the SEA process will be conducted and theinformation that is to be included in the environmental report)
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseThe case of the SEA of the city Masterplan of Alghero In the case of the SEA of the city Masterplan of Alghero, the public participated in a marginal way to the stages of planning. Only during the final stages of the preparation of the plan did a series of meetings take place and a series of information tools to enable all stakeholders to express opinions about the decisions were prepared. The meetings were aimed to promote interaction among the architects of the plan and all those involved in the process. Corresponding to the key issues, industrial associations and individual citizens with personal interests were invited to participate. They were given information through illustrative materials available through a dedicated web platform, in which the documentation for the plan and the SEA and a specific form for the participatory process through which it was possible to make observations and considerations were made available.
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseThe case of the SEA of the city Masterplan of Algheroit is possible to highlight some critical points encountered during this stage:• In the three scoping meetings, organized by the local administration, a large number ofthose responsible for the environment that had been invited were absent.This lack of participation can be attributed to the lack of awareness of the importance of thecontribution that they and the municipality can give to the SEA process. These aremethodological weaknesses that have characterized the organizational meetings.• The absence of the key-stakeholders and local community representatives at themeetings led to the focal point of the meetings being discussions about the state of theenvironment in Alghero and its critical issues rather than the examination of the contents ofthe plan.•Another problematic issue is the inability of the competent authority (the Province ofSassari) to play a proactive and subsidiary role in the scoping phase and in general in theSEA process. The lack of technical expertise on the SEA has reduced the role of theProvince to simply the formal control of the procedure.
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseIn another case Studies , for example, the SEA scoping documents of city Masterplan ofSimaxis, say that after the identification of (general) public and interested public(unspecified) provisions for consultation to allow them to express an opinion on the draftthe plan will be activated, and an opportunity to comment on the environmental and onnon-technical summary report will be given before the adoption of the Plan.The case study of Simaxis is singular because it shows, in the same document, acontradiction of that which has just been stated, but that the consultations will instead beactivated in the adopted plan.The SEA scoping document of the city Masterplan of Arborea says that the SEA processhighlights the need for the structured involvement of other parties than the administratorsof the city Masterplan. These entities include public institutions both local and supra-local,but it is not explained anywhere in the document, what is meant by "structuredinvolvement."
Participation in Sardinian case studies: the scoping phaseCritical points in the Sardinian case studies In the scoping documents examined, the environmental experts are identified, non- exhaustively. In no documents, of those examined, are the completed questionnaires of the parties competent in environmental matters to be found. During the scoping phase, a representative democracy of the context or of the reference sector interested in the plan is lacking because of non-involvement of the public and the interested public, due to the professional advice given by GL in this manner.
Participation during the preparation of the environmental report The GL, in order to ensure participation in the process of preparation of the environmental report, provide for a series of meetings on the subject of Municipalities and environmental emergencies, with the environmental experts, the public and the interested public. in order to ensure the availability of the necessary organizational and financial resources, the municipal administration should proceed to a preliminary program in which they can name the parties that will be involved, organize meetings, inform larger audiences and decide how to conduct the meetings. Categories and representatives of specific sectors (interested public) that will be involved in the participatory process should be identified in advance, with regards to this aspect.
Participation during the preparation of the environmental report According to GL and the construction process of the city Masterplan, the municipality has the task to determine the moments of participation and subjects to be involved. In GL various modes of participation are recommended, such as the activation of an on-line forum or the organization of meetings with the involvement of professional technical participation experts (facilitators). In the latter case it is suggested to adopt a participatory approach (for example Metaplan) providing the document in progress or a draft of the city Masterplan, including the environmental report for submission prior to the partiers being identified as "public interest". In accordance with the adoption of the City Council, as provided by the regional Law 45/89 and the second part of the Legislative Decree 152/2006 and subsequent amendments, the plan shall be made available to the public, together with the environmental report and the non-technical summary, so that everyone has a chance to examine it and comment.
Participation during the preparation of the environmental reportCritical points in the Sardinian case studies The low level of participation of local communities in the process of formation of the plans is a common to all the cases analysed. The non-involvement of individual citizens and associations representing various interests during periods of planning prevents their active participation that would have taken place through the formulation of recommendations and proposals. In some of the environmental reports analysis, references to the moments of participation are generally those indicated in the GL (Comune di Arborea, 2008, p. 14; Comune di Carbonia, 2009, p.10), other times it is described as a series of meetings without explaining what emerged from these meetings, or it refers to future actions, without specifying when they are implemented (Comune di Oristano, 2009, p. 146; Comune di Posada, 2008, p. 110). In the case of the environmental report of the city Masterplan of Posada, a map of the actors who will be involved in the planning process with methods of involvement to be adopted is proposed (Comune di Posada, 2008, pp. 35-36).
Diapositiva 18C14 da inserire sopra nel pezzo di Alghero Cheti; 06/05/2012
Participation during the preparation of the environmental report Critical points in the Sardinian case studiesWith a low level of participation involved in the pre-adoption of the plan, post-adoptionobservations cannot be made which become part of a procedural sequence in a plan that hasalready achieved a high level of concreteness and relevance and importance.The observations and proposals submitted by individual citizens or associations should beconsidered by the administration as a necessary and fundamental contribution which providethe city with an urban planning instrument most widely shared and participated.In addition, communities must not only identify with the overall interests of the stakeholdersthat hold strong beliefs and are already well-represented and defended. It is important thatthrough formal and informal organizations citizens can to express their ideas and demandsregarding the current and future organization of the area and the city.
Diapositiva 19C15 da inserire sopra nel pezzo di Alghero Cheti; 06/05/2012
Conclusion That the definition and structuring of a participatory process, which is not limited exclusively to thecomments on the proposed plan, are being adopted is of particular interest for the research inquestion. Therefore, to ensure the objectivity and transparency of the integrated process of planning andevaluation, an extensive public participation is desirable, one that does not result in purelyconsultative procedures but in real debate and a comparison of choices which lead to theassessment and definition of priorities and specific objectives. Decisions more beneficial to all involved assume that the strong interest and conflicts of interestare immediately put into play, rather after Here the role of SEA becomes central and fully integrated to the planning process.