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A 'delivery-democracy dilemma'? Mapping and explaining policy change for public engagement with energy infrastructure

Cowell, Richard ORCID: and Devine-Wright, Patrick 2018. A 'delivery-democracy dilemma'? Mapping and explaining policy change for public engagement with energy infrastructure. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 20 (4) , pp. 499-517. 10.1080/1523908X.2018.1443005

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There is a need to understand the changing provisions that governments make for public engagement in energy infrastructure decisions, but the existing literature is deficient in focusing mainly on single case studies. In response, we conduct a multi-sectoral, comparative analysis for the first time to assess how UK governments have engaged publics, applying a novel mapping methodology that is systematic, longitudinal and cross-technology.Moreover, our focus embraces mechanisms of consultation and support measures (e.g. community benefits) and seeks to explain patterns of change using a pragmatic sociology framework. Findings indicatetrendstowards a reduced scope for public engagementalongside expanded encouragement of community benefits, butalso important sectoral differences. On-shore wind movedtowards giving local decision-makers significant control over decisions. Gas-fired power stations experienced continuity, with central government controlling consents and limited interest in community benefits. Fracking facilities received intense promotion ofcommunity benefits, alongside incremental moves to restrict local decision-making. We argue that the patterns observedreflect government beliefs about the scope for depoliticisation in concrete situations, in which the conjunction of technologies, sites and publics affecthow and whether arrangements for public engagement change. These results raise challenges for how researchers seek to connect energy transitions and democracy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1523-908X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 15 February 2018
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:42

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