Article 15 — Public consultation and participation in decision-making
- Member States shall ensure that the public concerned is given an early opportunity to give its opinion on specific individual projects relating to:
- planning for new establishments pursuant to Article 13;
- significant modifications to establishments under Article 11, where such modifications are subject to obligations provided for in Article 13;
- new developments around establishments where the siting or developments may increase the risk or consequences of a major accident pursuant to Article 13.
- With regard to the specific individual projects referred to in paragraph 1, the public shall be informed by public notices or other appropriate means, including electronic media where available, of the following matters early in the procedure for the taking of a decision or, at the latest, as soon as the information can reasonably be provided:
- the subject of the specific project;
- where applicable, the fact that a project is subject to a national or transboundary environmental impact assessment or to consultations between Member States in accordance with Article 14(3);
- details of the competent authority responsible for taking the decision, from which relevant information can be obtained and to which comments or questions can be submitted, and details of the time schedule for transmitting comments or questions;
- the nature of possible decisions or, where there is one, the draft decision;
- an indication of the times and places where, or means by which, the relevant information will be made available;
- details of the arrangements for public participation and consultation made pursuant to paragraph 7 of this Article.
- With regard to the specific individual projects referred to in paragraph 1, Member States shall ensure that, within appropriate time-frames, the following is made available to the public concerned:
- in accordance with national legislation, the main reports and advice issued to the competent authority at the time when the public concerned was informed pursuant to paragraph 2;
- in accordance with the provisions of Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information(1), information other than that referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article which is relevant for the decision in question and which only becomes available after the public concerned was informed in accordance with that paragraph.
- Member States shall ensure that the public concerned is entitled to express comments and opinions to the competent authority before a decision is taken on a specific individual project as referred to in paragraph 1, and that the results of the consultations held pursuant to paragraph 1 are duly taken into account in the taking of a decision.
- Member States shall ensure that when the relevant decisions are taken, the competent authority shall make available to the public:
- the content of the decision and the reasons on which it is based, including any subsequent updates;
- the results of the consultations held before the decision was taken and an explanation of how they were taken into account in that decision.
- Where general plans or programmes are being established relating to the matters referred to in points (a) or (c) of paragraph 1, Member States shall ensure that the public is given early and effective opportunities to participate in their preparation and modification or review using the procedures set out in Article 2(2) of Directive 2003/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment(2).
Member States shall identify the public entitled to participate for the purposes of this paragraph, including relevant non-governmental organisations meeting any relevant requirements imposed under national law, such as those promoting environmental protection.
This paragraph shall not apply to plans and programmes for which a public participation procedure is carried out under Directive 2001/42/EC.
- The detailed arrangements for informing the public and consulting the public concerned shall be determined by the Member States.
Reasonable time-frames for the different phases shall be provided, allowing sufficient time for informing the public and for the public concerned to prepare and participate effectively in environmental decision-making subject to the provisions of this Article.