|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this dissertation is to examine the integration of social issues into
the Development Planning Process through environmental assessment
procedures. A Case Study of Petrol Filling Stations (PFS) was examined in
order to assess the level of integration of the social environment into the
development planning process.
It is often the case that developments, especially large developments, are
conceptualized at a scale that marginalises the needs of local communities.
The indirect cost and benefits of these developments on the community is not
adequately researched prior to the implementation of these developments.
Local concerns from the social environment are often marginalized in the
decision making process. The literature in the study indicates that public
involvement is often seen as anti-development, reflecting self-interest and
being typical of the NIMBY (Not in my backyard) Syndrome.
This dissertation comprises two main parts. The first part provides the theory
and methodology employed by the researcher to gather data to explore the
topic. International and national literature is analysed in relation to the
Development Planning Process, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)
and its evolution, Public Participation, The NIMBY Syndrome, Social Impact
Assessments (SIA) and relevant case studies are explored.
The second part of this research analyses in detail the case study in relation
to the development planning process and the EIA process. The intention of
the analysis of the case studies was to establish at exactly what point the
social environment is included in the development planning process and EIA
process. The intention was to further establish if the process and its practice
is adequate in ensuring the assessment and inclusion of the social
environment into the decision making process.
The second part of this research also analyses the interviews that were
undertaken in order to assess how practitioners consider and include the
social environment into the decision making process. The research confirms
that in this particular instance the social environment was not adequately
included early enough in the decision making process. Often social concerns
are considered by developers to be a mechanism to delay development and
are viewed as a “stumbling block” to development. However, the recognition
of social issues and good public participation have been recognized as an
important factor in ensuring quick decision-making and successful
implementation of projects. Social screening is critical at the outset, prior to a
development application being lodged with the relevant approval authority.
Developers have recognized the importance of SIA and thorough public
involvement in projects. Social screening can be used as a tool outside of, or
prior to, the formal Development Planning and EIA application processes.||en