Irish Sea Coastal Stakeholder Engagement in NW England: consultation, participation, strategic purpose and rhetoric. Do you reap just what you sow?
The creation of a holistic more inclusive approach to marine management could be positively influenced by the development of well structured and sincere Stakeholder Engagement and Public Participation (SEPP) processes. However poorly designed frameworks and processes lacking sincerity may engender scepticism, mistrust and create barriers in the attainment of a thriving and diverse coastal economy. During 2009 a public participation and stakeholder engagement policy has been used by government agencies, Defra and the Department of Energy and Climate Change to gauge public opinion within the marine and coastal environment of the Irish Sea. This concerns the development of Irish Sea Conservation Zones and the UK’s Nuclear Newbuild programme. Both issues have complex dynamics regarding their environmental, economic, societal and sustainability aspects. This paper studies two contrasting styles of SEPP deployed during this critical ‘first contact’ stage by a participatory observation approach and assesses how this phase may affect the development of the engagement process and how this may affect a project’s outcome.
Key words: Stakeholder Engagement / Public Participation / Irish Sea Conservation Zones / Nuclear New Build / First contact / Holistic
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011