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Governance in UK energy policy – the 2007 consultation process on nuclear power

Graham Walker
University of Essex
Graham Walker
University of Essex
Open Panel

Abstract

Proposals for new nuclear power stations in the UK represent a controversial and difficult governance challenge for the British government. One of the tactics for allaying the suspicions of the public and the concerns of potential investors has been to run consultative events around the country, both in major cities and near the proposed plant sites. The initial wave of consultations in 2006 were thrown out after a legal challenge by Greenpeace, but the second were accepted, with Greenpeace refusing to participate. This paper will examine this second consultation process using a political discourse theory approach, applied to the consultative documents and transcripts from the stakeholder events to answer the key question of the panel: did the consultation process succeed in providing a democratic component to governance? The positive and negative connotations of the methods used and the results they produced will then be discussed, with reference to their impact on theories of governance.