Defining the ideology of public participation

'democracy', 'devolution', 'deliberation', 'dispute resolution' and a new system for identifying public participation in planning law

Robert Stokes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


The need to include processes for public participation and involvement has long been accepted as a crucial element in the design of laws dealing with environmental and planning decision-making. Yet, across the world, processes for including public participation in environmental and planning laws have been criticised for failing to exhibit the hallmarks of genuine participation, with claims that opportunities for public participation are included in form, but not in substance. Recent planning law reforms in the UK and in Australia have continued the rhetorical endorsement of public participation as a crucial element of an effective statutory planning system. This article will critically analyse the meaning and purpose of public participation in the context of UK and Australian planning law. Public participation in planning law will be presented as an 'ideology' which can be separated into the following elements: democracy, devolution, deliberation and dispute resolution. The article will then apply these elements as the basis of a systematic framework to explore the extent to which the ideology of public participation is genuinely evident in recent reforms to planning law and policy in the UK and Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalMacquarie Journal of International and Comparative Environmental Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the Dean, Division of Law, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.

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