Participatory governance for energy policy-making: A case study of the UK nuclear consultation in 2007

Daphne Ngar-yin Mah*, Peter Hills

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The policy challenges associated with climate impacts, nuclear risks and an emergence of public preferences for fuel mixes have prompted many contemporary societies to adopt participatory approaches for managing energy matters. The extent to which and just how participatory approaches can work has however remained under-researched. This paper develops a normative framework for participatory governance to examine, analyse, and understand nuclear policy making processes and outcomes, with a particular reference to a case study of the UK nuclear consultation exercise in 2007. By comparing the actual consultation practice in the UK and our normative content-process-outcome framework, we found that the government approach paid insufficient attention to trust and some other normative values underpinning participatory governance, contributing to undesirable outcomes relating to policy legitimacy and public distrust. Ourfindings suggest that the UK government needs to pay more attention to the interaction that can occur between different rationales for participation and the processes and consequences of participatory exercises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-351
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date18 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Nuclear policy-making
  • Public participation
  • UK


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