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date: 11 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This paper examines two important themes of EU environmental law: the preoccupation with the generation of detailed environmental information and knowledge; and an emphasis on participatory modes of decision-making. Exploring a number of areas of EU environmental law, this paper details the processes for gathering information on ‘facts’ about the world, and for enabling more or less ‘public’ participation in decision-making. It highlights the legitimacy challenges raised by the limits of expertise as a decision-making resource, and by the advantages of industry in shaping that expertise. There are no simple solutions to the challenges raised, but ensuring transparency and inclusion, an opportunity for scrutiny and for hearing different and dissenting voices, are important responses. Decision-makers also need to become more adept at articulating the reasons for a decision that are not to be found in expert advice.

Keywords: EU environmental law, expertise, politics, public participation, transparency, inclusion

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