The Role Of Local Government In Procedures Of Environmental Impact Assessment In Croatia
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Local government, in the procedures of environmental impact assessment, aims to, within the government, create and maintain awareness of the need to communicate with different groups of users and to provide a constant level of sensitivity to the needs and opinions of customers, based on the principles of sustainable development. In general, local government establishes an understanding of the policies, processes, and activities of government by informing users, replying, where appropriate, to the criticisms of the authorities, establishing and maintaining effective channels of communication with the public available to the authorities. The importance of public participation in the procedures of environmental impact assessment is constantly growing, and local government is increasingly under pressure from the public, economic, and civil sectors in decision-making processes on the assessment of environmental impact studies. This paper presents the results of empirical research of the knowledge and opinion of the concerned public in the Republic of Croatia about the representation of local government in the expert commission for the assessment of all projects and works of local communities on presenting their development plans in order to avoid possible public outcry. Qualitative research on the target sample was conducted using in-depth interviews and participatory observation. In the analysis of the empirical material, the method of grounded theory was used; the quantification of the qualitatively processed encrypted material was calculated by the computer package Statistica Ver.11.00. Most respondents believe that two representatives of the local government are enough in the work of the expert committee evaluating the impact on the environment, which on average has seven or nine members, and they point out that it is important that these representatives are not in some kind of conflict of interest. The respondents completely agree that the local community should do more to present their development plans, in order to eliminate possible public outcry. In particular this applies to the local community in small towns where some interventions can have a positive impact on the way of life of people, and which would contribute to a better understanding and would definitely have a positive impact on the negative attitude of the public.
local government, environmental impact assessment, commission