Index > 2 Development of a strategy, implementation and execution program to remediate radioactively contaminated sites >

2.3.2 The importance of trust

Contributions of external participation should be objectively considered and there should be a genuine willingness to take a different course of action if new information or insights are provided. Involvement coming after the options have effectively been narrowed down to one, will be seen as a closed process, as a means of legitimising a prior decision, and at best, there will be no ownership [CIRIA-2005].

Community involvement programmes are unlikely to be effective unless first a degree of trust can be established. Relationships with stakeholders and the public have to be built up over time. It can not be expected that the trust and the credibility required for a successful consultation can be established quickly, especially where a project is contentious and the debate polarised from the start.

Acceptable motives, realistic strategies and effective regulation are prerequisites for building trust, but the most important factor may be openness, in the context of a community involvement programme including: admitting mistakes, acknowledging uncertainty, and giving people the full picture.

Reliability is another important contributor to trust, meaning that the legal entity should also be efficient and competent so that its promises mean something. Poor reliability can easily grow into a more general lack of trust.