UCL Public Policy


Governance for Climate Change Technologies

This cross-disciplinary project explored the space for public participation during the consenting process for wind energy and carbon capture-and-storage projects.

While decision-makers are subject to legal obligations to provide opportunities for public involvement in consenting, an examination of high level strategic planning policy suggests that in practice, very little will be up for discussion by this stage.

We also identified a certain mistrust of public participation among those making policy on the technological change thought necessary for climate change mitigation. Legally embedded rights to participate, coupled with limited opportunities to influence, create the danger that participation becomes a simple bureaucratic hurdle, frustrating for all concerned.

This project was chaired by Prof Maria Lee (UCL Laws) and jointly supported by UCL Public Policy, UCL Laws and the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities.


The project group has produced three articles:

  1. Public Participation and Climate Change Infrastructure, Journal of Environmental Law (Volume 25, 2012). To request a copy of this publication please email Prof Lee. An accompanying policy briefing is available here.
  2. ‘Nuclear energy sounded wonderful 40 years ago’: UK citizen views on CCS, Journal of Energy Policy (Volume 66, 2014). An accompanying policy briefing is available here.
  3. Public Engagement in Decision-Making on Major Wind Energy Projects, Journal of Environmental Law (Volume 27, 2015). An accompanying policy briefing will be available shortly.

It held two events:

  • A workshop to discuss the findings of the project and possible solutions to help address the problems in public participation, with representatives of the NGO sector in 2012. A policy briefing summarising the key points of the discussion is available here.
  • A policy seminar as part of the UCL Public Policy events series, on Going Low-Carbon – the Governance of Climate Change Technologies, in 2011. A policy briefing developed from the project and the seminar discussion is available here.

Project members

The core members of the project group were: