The engagement with the local community is arguably the most important part of project development. Sadly, too often it is simply viewed as ‘something that has to be done’. At the same time, community expectations are rising. So what does this mean for the future of project engagement? We should start by making an admission. There will never be a scheme that doesn’t face some level of opposition or challenge. The idea that a project can simply be presented or ‘sold’ to a community, politicians or officials, is simply wrong. The same is true of policies as well. Consultation has risen in importance over at least the past decade. Whether it is a controversial policy or project, one that elicits a range of views, one that might be challenged, or one that people want more information about, consultation is a default position. Whether that is because politicians are looking for a way to avoid making difficult decisions or whether they think that by listening they can avoid legal challenges can be debated.
BDB 6th April 2017 read more »