Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Not Nuclear In My Back Yard - NNIMBY

In light of the evidence on global warming many environmental campaigners, who would previously have opposed nuclear power, now see at as an essential part of the power generation mix. But even those who have long supported nuclear power generation think not in back yard (NIMBY). If the building of new nuclear power plants were put to a national referendum, I suspect we would give them the go ahead. But if Interactive Democracy were in place we could see local votes against new sites.

Does this scenario highlight a fatal flaw with Interactive Democracy: the problem of balancing national and local demands?

Today the planning process is designed to give locals a voice, but the recent government announcements have made it clear that building must start without endless local deliberation: a new independent commission will have the final say. Within the Interactive Democratic process, guided by Parliament, the national will may still hold sway. An alternative to the commission, and a more democratic method, would be to list the proposed sites in a national nuclear regeneration referendum, thus making it clear from the outset who will be effected.

The conflict of interests and ID debate are in them selves important. For example, local pressure against nuclear sites can help drive up safety standards and ensure compensatory improvements in the local infrastructure and economy. This may help provide a fairer national distribution of risks and benefits.

More here, from the BBC.

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