PART III: ANALYSIS OF THE LOCAL AGENDA 21-PROCESS IN FOUR NORWEGIAN MUNICIPALITIES
This part is concentrated around the research of the four Norwegian municipalities. It analyses different cases from the LA21 process in these municipalities. Chapter six deals with organising and administration of the process. Chapter seven is the main chapter in this part and handles the difficulties with participation. It is distinguished between "ordinary" participation and partnership. But even though this is the main theme of the chapter, other related issues are also treated. The last chapter is pointing at obstacles and difficulties that the informants and the municipalities met in the implementation of LA21.
This chapter is investigating how the municipalities try to implement LA21 perspectives in the existing system of plans, and due to that how to assess the process, and how the work with LA21 is co-ordinated and organised in the municipalities. At the end it is looked at what strategies the municipalities used to mobilise relevant social groups.
The municipality advisers in the four municipalities considered implementation of LA21 in the existing plan system as a crucial point. At the moment of the research all the four municipalities worked to co-ordinate the perspectives of LA21 with plans and documents. Of greatest importance in the plan system, on the local level, is the municipality plan. The municipality plan consists of a societal plan for 12 years and an area plan. In the national legislation and procedures for making such plans, it is stated that all groups shall have the opportunity to express their opinions, it has been like this before LA21 came. The environmental adviser in Hole stated: "What is of importance is to implement the way of thinking form Rio into the municipality's different plans, than starting a whole lot of small projects" (Hole e 18.05.99).
The environmental adviser said that implementation of sustainable development in existing plans had been undervalued so far in Hole, but in the area plan for Røyse of April 1999, was the sustainable perspective implemented and broad participation secured in the process of developing the municipality plan.
Also the other municipalities staked on sustainability and participation in their plans. In the first chapter of the proposition to the new municipality plan in Nittedal, for example, it is stated that sustainable development should be the overlapping concern in the municipality. The political document "Nittedal Agenda 21" was a basis document in the work with the municipality plan. Three open hearings have been arranged in Nittedal during the process of making a new municipal plan. People could also give their opinion via the Internet. The political LA21-committee is still not satisfied with the environmental aspects of the municipality plan. They mean firstly, that the municipality plan misses visions and stake on participation of children and youth. Secondly, are the environmental focus areas in Nittedal not integrated in the plan. The five focus areas are: 1) Conservation and use of nature- and culture landscape. 2) Energy consumption.
3) Transport. 4) Waste. 5) Environmental projects to solve actual environmental problems. The municipality council formally approved the focus areas. The municipality council has approved these focus areas and in the opinion of the committee, they should naturally be integrated in the new municipality plan.
Many of the environmental advisers meant that a separate LA21 plan would not get high enough status, and therefore it would be better to integrate it in the existing plans. Fredrikstad was the only municipality that has planned to make a separate LA21-plan. However, to implement the perspectives of A21 and LA21 in the existing plans do not lead to any changes in the existing system of plans. What is changing is the content of the existing plans because new perspectives are implemented like, long-term thinking, broad participation, sustainability and the global perspective.
To assess achievements and status of the LA21 process, indicators can be useful instruments. The work with mapping and use of indicators can be regarded as a way of learning and of making up status. Indicators are important in for example annual reports, to measure improvement. Indicators are also useful when they show where to keep on, for the city council, committees or other forums. However, a serious problem with indicators is that they often are too vague or wide, or in other words not concrete or specific enough. This, together with the problem of getting data, are the reason why developing indicators takes so much time. There is also a problem of presenting the indicators, measures and results.
In Hurum they have come far in developing indicators. The municipality plan has a list of measures for the different parts of the municipality. The list was developed through discussions at general meetings and through local teamwork. The list gives directions for action ("LA21 i Hurum..." 1999). The indicators are presented in the annual report and the goal is that the indicators shall be important in the control system, and that the different sectors shall be better in using environmental criteria in planning and reports (Ibid.). In this way they have explicit goals, and when they have indicators to measure them, they can easily see where they succeeded and where they have to concentrate more work. In the annual report of 1998, some of the indicators are compared during four years, but some of them only have data for one or two years. The reason for this is of course that they started to measure just a few years ago, in some years they will probably have information about all the indicators.
The environmental adviser and the project leader in Hurum experienced that the way in which the indicators were first presented created misunderstandings. By reactions from politicians and others they understood that the presentation of the indicators and results had to take into account the readers. They had to ask themselves who the receivers or readers were. How the indicators are presented depends often on whom they are addressed to and what the receiver shall use it for. After this experience, the next annual report of 1997 was presented by using three different kinds of faces to indicate the level of satisfaction for each indicator and the numbers were made more logic by eliminating some key numbers and change others. In this way it was easy to understand if the environmental development was going in the desired direction.
Indicators can, if they are precise enough, help the municipality and relevant social groups to see if the development in the local society is changing in a more sustainable direction. In Hurum they could see that car use and electricity consumption had risen during the past year. So now it is quite clear what they have to stake on in the future.
The municipalities had different ways of organising the work with LA21. There were also different views on what role the municipality should play. What role have they taken and how are the work with LA21 organised?
Hurum participated in the SLC-project. This project was regarded as a pro-project rather than the direct start of LA21. LA21 should be the continuance. This is in accordance to the intention of the project; the SLC-project should be a preparation to lead the way for an LA21 process and give experience and examples (Lafferty et al. 1999). The SLC-project in Hurum was lead by a project-leader in co-operation with the environmental advisor. The SLC-project had an executive committee, with representatives from the schools, the Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature, the Environmental Home Guard, two plants, the Trade and Industry Board, the Voluntarily Central Agency, the joint committees, the mayor and the project-leader (Staubo and Løfsgaard 1999). After the closure of the project, in April 1999, the project leader position and the executive committee were closed down. The environmental adviser has now the full administrative responsibility for LA21 alone. The work with LA21 follows now the normal procedure. This means that the further process of LA21 lies with the environmental adviser alone and that environmentally issues compete with other issues in the debate on the budget. But the environmental adviser was optimistic, saying that since contact is established between several social groups this makes further collaboration easier. After this it was regarded as important to involve the politicians directly in the conducting of the LA21 process. A political LA21-committee was established in the last phase of the SLC-project and this committee will continue. In a way it is a strange way of conducting the LA21 process, when it goes from partnership with many social groups in an executive committee to a pure political committee. It is true that it is probably easier to collaborate now than before. But the process is steered more or less solely by the municipality organisation.
Fredrikstad participated in the SLC-project as well. In Fredrikstad they regarded the SLC-project differently. When they started the project it was with the intention that this should be "real" LA21 with partnership, participation etc. As it is focused on in the next chapter, they have staked on Fredrikstad Environmental Forum as method for partnership building.
In Hole and Nittedal they have established political LA21-committees. In Nittedal the environmental adviser, the chief for plans- and economy (both positions are situated in the municipality administration, directly under the chief executive) and the manager of the Agency of Volunteers are also members. The co-operation between the Agency of Volunteers and the municipality is considered as very good, from both parts. The municipality does the administrative and planning part of the job, and the Agency of Volunteers works action- and project oriented. Since many of the organisations in Nittedal are stockholders in the Agency of Volunteers, this is a very important agency.
Hole has a pure political LA21-committee. The environmental adviser is the administrator and contact person. Since he is the official in charge of LA21 and the political committee only thinks strategically, he is the one who handles all the practical things with LA21. But he claimed that the political committee gives him directories and corrections on the way and gives input to the process of approving or disapproving potentially LA21 projects. Even though there are interplay between the politicians and the administration in a case like this, it is not ensuring a broad participation. In this sense the decision making is still in the hands of the municipality organisation and compared to the intention of LA21 this is not including nor dynamic.
According to the environmental adviser in Hole, it is a principal question of how heavy the municipality administration shall be in the LA21-process. In his opinion the municipality should play the role as a facilitator, and let people do the rest. Participation mechanisms have been discussed in the political LA21-committee. They agreed that the different actors in the LA21 process should choose mechanism themselves. Instead, the political LA21-committee concentrated the work on which actors could be relevant and methods inside the municipality organisation. Six employees from the municipality have for example attended GRIP's course and will teach their colleagues. There are done some efforts towards involving social actors and groups outside the municipality organisation. Brochures about "The Steins Fjord Action" are distributed to every household. On the municipality's own web page, there are special pages designed for LA21. On these pages, people can check what is going on at the moment and they can write a contribution or questions. Here, and through other channels, people have been encouraged to come with suggestions to actions for the lake. Activities and information directed outwards could be said to be a direct achievement of the LA21 process. And during the process of LA21 the environmental adviser meant that the municipality takes ideas and input from social groups more seriously. But apart form this, it is still a long way to go before other social groups conduct the process together with the municipality organisation. So the wish from the environmental adviser in Hole, to only be a facilitator, lies in the future.
As mentioned earlier, Fiorino (1990) and Laird (1993) have written about different participation mechanisms, the mechanism suits different issues. Hearings were the only mechanism used in the municipalities, among the five discussed by Fiorino. The participation mechanisms discussed were: public hearings, initiative, public surveys, negotiated rule making and citizens review panels (Fiorino 1990:230-235). But as hearings or open meetings are a part of the process of the municipality area plan this is nothing new. Fiorino argues that participation theorists point to the necessity of new forms of participation. New forms of participation, what is it? In Hurum and Fredrikstad they started many sub-projects to the SLC-project. This was a new way for them to work.
In Hurum, there was no overall strategy for how to involve the community, apart from invitations to participate in different sub-projects; many of the invitations were grasped, for example the project Sustainable Trade and Industry (this will be discussed later). But in the report from the SLC-project it is possible to read about mechanisms actually used to reach different actors or groups and some of them were new for Hurum:
1. Consultation assistance for making action plans was given to the private enterprises in the sub-project Sustainable Trade and Industry. 2. An executive committee was established for the SLC-project. 3. Through local and county newspapers, the municipality's own information paper, exhibitions in the library and several brochures, information about the SLC-project and LA21 were given. 4. Dialogue between the "Green families" and the municipality. "Green Family" is a concept where families do environmental friendly things that they themselves chose from a action list.
5. Several courses and seminars were arranged. 6. Action days and open meetings covering different themes, open for the public, were held. 7. Excursions to Sweden and Denmark were arranged for representatives of the municipality organisation. 8. Bustle, that will say to bustle because actors are slow or "lazy". 9. Openness. Actors were encouraged to take contact with the municipality and develop new ideas and co-operate in the practical fulfilment (Staubo and Løfsgaard 1999:11-12).
An example of how the pluralists would have done it is number two, executive committee. The members of the executive committee were representatives from different social interest groups and they should speak up for their group. Under the section of "Voluntary Work" this issue will be focused on.
What clearest could be sorted under the umbrella of the direct participation method is for example number five, courses and seminars. The course arranged for the municipality organisation is directed to each employee. The goal is that they shall learn something and that this knowledge will foster action, which benefits the environment. The goal for Board of Aldermen was that 80% of the employees in the municipality organisation should be trained in environmental issues. Per May 1999 50% of the employees had attended the three hours course. The course for the instructors is arranged by GRIP. Eight employees have attained that course and are now specially trained to educate their colleagues. Usually two and two of the specially trained employees arrange courses for small groups. During the course, the employees work with concrete issues of what they can change at their own workplace. Afterwards it is up to the management at each workplace to follow up. One could trace changes in attitude and habits within the municipality organisation of Hurum. The employees were mainly positive to the idea of attending an LA21-course. But there were some that was negative to the idea in the beginning. It could be several reasons for this, that the course was obligatory and thereby forced upon them, that they did not see the need or relevance of this course for their position or that they were not interested in environmental issues at all. The evaluation on feedback from the courses indicated that the majority of the employees were content with the course and thought that it had helped them to become more environmental conscious. Even the mainly negative persons admitted that it had an effect. In all the research municipalities courses and seminars for the employees and politicians in the municipality organisation were considered and important task. Hurum, Hole and Fredrikstad used GRIP's course-package in basic environmental knowledge. In Nittedal they were still thinking about what to choose.
The rest of the mechanisms used in Hurum can sort under both umbrellas. An example of this is information. The post service and the local newspapers were important regarding distribution of LA21 information. The information materiel was directed to individuals, so everybody got information about the SLC-project as well as an invitation to be a "Green family". At the same time letters were sent to special groups like organisations, business and schools with the same content. The goals were to give individuals and groups knowledge about LA21, but also to get them to do something, for example participating in projects. In this sense the two perspectives are intertwined. In the White Paper no.46 the Norwegian government has criticised A21 for a too narrow view on the transfer of information. What can be important to note is that knowledge about an issue does not automatically lead to what is the desired goal. A survey referred to in Lafferty et al (1997), shows that the correlation between knowledge, involvement and action is not so obvious as first thought. The conclusion was based on, among other things, the following finding: men had knowledge, but did not take the environmental problems seriously. Women had less knowledge about environmental issues, but even though regarded them as very important and tried to prioritise it through change in lifestyle (Ibid.).
It is possible to say that the two democracy approaches distinguished by Laird (1993) only can be regarded as ideal types. This means that in reality it is difficult to find pure examples of them, but usually there is a mix of both. None of the municipalities had an overall strategy for how the potential relevant social groups could be reached, encouraged and participatory. It is easiest and highly traditional to reach social groups than social actors or individuals. Social actors or individuals forms the social groups and will be reached thereby. Maybe the municipalities would gain if they worked a bit more like advertising-people. They aim at reaching a special group with their advertising campaigns. In this way the municipalities, could go more directly towards groups like NGOs, women, indigenous people, children and youth. These groups are specifically mentioned in A21, as important to involve in the process.
Did the municipalities mobilise actors or groups to participate? Did the municipalities try to build partnership relations? If this happened, how was it done?
LA21 is one of the chapters in section 3 of A21. Section 3 treats the idea that partnership for sustainable development needs a broad participation of all groups and organisations in decision-making. Special emphasis is given to women, children and youth, indigenous people and NGOs. The role of workers and trade unions, business and industry, scientific and technological communities and farmers are also treated.
Participation and partnership can be regarded as two different things. An understanding of participation used in development projects, in general, is that participation means that those with legitimate interest have influence in decisions that affect them (Eyben and Landbury 1995). When one talk about participation it is usually broad participation. This implies that the decision-makers consult the relevant social actors or groups. The social actors or groups influence the decision by giving input to the decision-makers, but do not take the decision directly. There are, of course, degrees of participation and the four criteria participation theorists use implies a high degree of participation: 1. The mechanisms should include direct participation of lay-people. 2. The mechanisms should ensure shared governance. 3. The mechanisms should provide some time for face-to-face discussion. 4. The mechanisms should be assessed after how equal the citizens and the experts are in the process. Participation mechanisms cover activities like hearings and referendum, consensus conferences and negotiating rule making etc. Different participation mechanisms can suite different projects or aims (Fiorino 1990).
The term partnership, on the other hand, is designed to target private economic actors in the implementation phase. Partnership is often built when the concern is about money and that the issue is difficult to solve without co-operation from business. Here it will also be used about other actors, not only business. A partnership in this sense consists of actors or groups that takes part in the implementation and decision-making as equal parts but with different force and interests. The decision is made through negotiation and compromises, and is agreed upon by all the involved partners. So for the LA21-process partnership is more desirable than participation because all relevant actors are included at the implementation stage and through the whole process.
In Fredrikstad the municipality has been very open to what LA21 is and can be. As the environmental adviser stated; they are now in phase two, where the importance is to get in touch with relevant actors and groups who can really work with environmental and participation issues. The enthusiasm must include actions, this is why Fredrikstad Environmental Forum is regarded as necessary.
Fredrikstad Environmental Forum was established in "old" Fredrikstad municipality. In the beginning it was a forum for dialogue between the municipality and the environmental organisations in Fredrikstad. The focus and boundary object of the dialogue was on waste management. When the attention turned to LA21 and its thinking in terms of partnership a new model was designed for the forum. It was decided that the participants in the forum should be equal partners and that the forum should expand to include other organisations and business. There is a broad representation in Fredrikstad Environmental Forum from private enterprises, business organisations, environmental organisations, the state church and the municipality ("Vi er i gang" 1998).
Environmental concerns and the LA21-process in itself became a boundary object within the forum. As the members had totally different reasons for participation and different opinions on environmental issues, one can really understand that they came from different social worlds. Harvey and Chrisman (1998) write that boundary objects both can separate social groups or worlds and stabilise their relationship through negotiation. Negotiation and discussion have characterised the process, which Fredrikstad Environmental Forum has gone through, and is still going through. Since the forum in 1996 got the responsibility for LA21, it has used much time to define its role. When the parts in the forum are of the "heavy sort" (considered the most important partners for the municipality in the work with LA21) it is obvious that negotiation and translation takes time. After two years of stumbling to find their role, the forum is now active. A common understanding and a platform for further work have been agreed upon, though it does not reflect a fixed consensus. There will still be disagreements because of the vested interests of the partners. What has been of importance for the environmental adviser is Fredrikstad Environmental Forum's roots; the municipality. The environmental adviser pointed to what he considered important; that the environmental organisations does not steer the forum solely on their own premises, but in co-ordination with other organisations and participants.
The stake on Fredrikstad Environmental Forum has created a socio-political change, since the forum has responsibility for the LA21 process in Fredrikstad. This was probably possible because of structural changes in the amalgamation process the municipality went through. This kind of change can reveal and open up for other kinds of changes after a while.
Many neighbourhoods in Norway have own boards or residents' associations, which works for the welfare and benefit of the inhabitants. They work with problems concerning the local neighbourhood and arrange joint efforts, social events and distribute information.
The residents' associations are of special interest in Nittedal. From the municipality's point of view, it is believed that by spreading the idea of LA21 through the residents' associations people will get curious and interested. This view is partly shared by the manager of the Agency of Volunteers. The underlying perception that did not match, between the politicians and administration versus the manager of the Agency of Volunteers, was how to continue the process.
Until now the LA21 process has been carried out in the political and administrative sphere. The political LA21-committee has decided what to do and how to do it and in this way identified and constructed what LA21 should be in Nittedal. The manager of the Agency of Volunteers thinks that this part of the process should be done with more inclusion of other groups like the residents' associations. The residents' associations are relatively well organised and already active in sub-projects of LA21 arranged by the Agency of Volunteers, but many of them are not as active as before because of the high amount of elderly people. Despite this, the residents' association is regarded as a good starting point. At this moment the manager stated that it could be "...fruitful to stop for a moment to "do things right". The residents' associations should get the message: now you have got the chance to say what you think is important for Nittedal!" (Nittedal g 19.05.99). In this way and since the all the households belong to a residents' association, every citizens could be reached and be able to influence the construction of the LA21 process.
The manager of the Agency of Volunteers did not look at the residents' associations as partners in the overall strategic planning, but more as to give input to this work, rather she regarded them as partners in concrete projects initiated by the agency or the residents' associations themselves. The administration and politicians wanted the citizens to express their opinions in different ways and through the residents' associations were considered efficient.
In Hurum a similar organisation to the residents' associations of Nittedal, called joint committees, exists. Some years ago was Hurum considered an alternative site for the new national airport, a huge amount of money and other resources were raised to register the natural environment and to create channels for the population's opinions. Six joint committees were established as a channel of communication. The joint committees are still in function and are one partner for the municipality in the LA21-process. Each joint committee is composed of representatives from organisations and associations in proximity, and its function is to communicate between the citizens and the municipality ("MIK Info") and to be a hearing instance. The joint committees have developed lists of measures that are integrated in the municipality plan. And the joint-committees have the responsibility of carrying through measures and actions in the local surroundings ("LA21 i Hurum..." 1999). The joint committees and other organisational and voluntary contributions are co-ordinated by the Agency of Volunteers of Hurum.
In both these cases the opinion and meaning of the residents' associations and the joint-committees are valued as input to the process. In Nittedal the residents' associations were represented indirectly, via the Agency of Volunteers, in a committee that also defines the overall strategy for the LA21 process. But this committee is mainly political, and the residents' associations have really no influence in what is going on at the committee meetings. In Hurum, the joint-committees had one representative in the executive committee of the SLC-project and together with the municipality one of the joint-committees have arranged open days, trips and meetings. But since the SLC-project is over, there is no fixed co-operation or partnership between the municipality and the joint-committees at the moment.
The two energy examples show how an existing system, here the way of producing and using energy are kept up. The first looked at the possibility to use distance heating from Norske Skog Tofte, a cellulose fabric, to among others Norske Skog Hurum. This sub-project was a co-operation between the two fabrics, the electricity works, the Trade and Industry Board and the municipality, with assistance from Novus Vita consulting company. The investment costs was said to be the main reason why this sub-project did not work out. In this case, the willingness to pay an extra cost for a more effective use of energy was not present. After the turning down of the project, it was discovered that the conditions for loans had changed. This could have contributed to a fulfilment of the project, but it was not treated for a second time.
The second sub-project looked at the possibility for using surplus gas from a waste-depot for heating of Norske Skog Hurums' process water. The sub-project got financial support from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, but fell through because of insecurity about the ownership and the future plans for the fabric (Staubo and Løfsgaard 1999:26). The fabric had for a period problem with the sale of their recycled paper-products ("Grønne tider" 1/99), this can be a contributory cause to the closedown of the project.
In both these examples a part of an existing system is going to be changed. But since there exist a large dependence between components in a technological system and between systems, this will have a general influence (Andersen and Sørensen 1994:202) and make it difficult to change. The technological frame in this case is very strong and has no competitors. The interest for many actors in keeping the frame is very high. If the projects would be realised it would happen within the existing frame and they would simply reproduce and reinforce the frame. The case of using surplus-gas was a better efficient use of the energy, but it would be something added to the already existing system. In competing it is usually easier to add something than to do major changes and it is often "played safe" since the outcome of the change is less predictable (Beder 1993). This does not mean that the projects were bad. It would be more environmental friendly to do it than to leave it as it was. But there was not a radical new solution, which challenged the existing solution. It was not likely that a radically new solution would pop up. The system as a whole had reached closure a long time ago. It was stabilised in the way it exists now. Extremely many new things had to be changed if one should follow the idea. This is called "lock in" into the technological frame and thus innovation is rare in such a situation (Thompson 1993).
Unfortunately, both the sub-projects were closed down. The reason given by the managers and the project leader was the high costs and uncertainty. Behind such excuses a lack of will to stake on environment can be traced. Technological solutions that are reproduced like this are happening because of strong interests in keeping it, as it is (Andersen and Sørensen 1994). That is why it is difficult to change, but it is not totally irreversible.
The case of Buskerud Betongvarefabrikk is different. In the opinion of the neighbours, the works had to do something in consideration to the environment. The neighbours interpreted the cement works as a problem. The area looked bad, it was noisy, trailers drove in and out the whole day and on hot days a lot of dust was in the air. The management understood that there was a problem, but the problems were huge and inherited. They thought it was difficult to know where to start and what to do. The management felt that they did their best, but the neighbours continued to complain.
The cement works as a boundary object was interpreted as something good and necessary from the management's point of view. For the neighbours the boundary object was a problem and something unpleasant. The controversy and disagreement between the two groups' interpretation was deep. For the neighbours who had a low inclusion attached to the works, they could do fine without it. But for the management and the employees, who were highly included, they could not do without their working place (Bijker 1996:7). That is maybe the reason why the management considered it so important to do something about the problems, they were forced to it because the inclusion or ties were so strong. That was why the invitation to the sub-project from the municipality was regarded as a nice present. They got help to find out what to do, how to do it and when to do it. During the project it became possible to communicate with the neighbours to find out what they considered as problems. An action plan was made for the cement works, with help from a consultant company. Different tasks, from the action plan, were performed to do the situation better. For example they started to sort some of the waste, they made a mud tank and rearranged the warehouse. The problem was that when they washed something the cement mud remained on the ground, the trailers got the mud on their tires and the mud were transported a while before it fell off and created dust. Now the mud tank keeps the mud and when it is full the waste is transported to a special waste depot. And they use salt on the ground to avoid dust.
The rearrangement of the warehouse and some of the other actions gave the works economically gains.
So to the case of the cement filter, where some more effort were done and an innovation occurred. Lundvall (1992) states that innovations happen everywhere in the economy, any time and that it can happen fast, slowly or gradually. It is an ongoing process of learning, searching and research, which results in new products, new techniques, new forms of organising or new markets. Innovation can happen in the field of organising, technology, participatory methods, new places and spaces for communication etc. The cement works had to innovate to cope with the problem of the cement filter, and to take a step in a more sustainable direction.
First, Buskerud Betongvarefabrikk AS bought a new cement filter. As a kind of closure and stabilisation was reached within the production of filters this was not good enough to reduce the noise sufficiently. The managers had to search for another solution as well to be able to reduce the noise enough. The solution they came up with was to build a noise shelter around the filter. This incremental innovation resulted in a reduction of noise from 90 to 60 decibels. One can distinguish between different kinds of innovations. One type is incremental and radical innovation. Incremental innovations are minor changes, e.g. something new for a company. Radical innovations are major changes, which can be something new for a whole line of business. Another type is product and process innovations. Product innovation means that new products are developed. Process innovation can be radical new ways of producing products or doing previously unimagined things (http://www.undp.org/hdro/report.html). An innovation is never totally new, because it is always based on old innovations; this is why technology is cumulative or as Edquist puts it: "Innovations are new creations of economic significance...often new combinations of existing elements" (1997:67).
The innovation at Buskerud Betongvarefabrikk AS, noise shelter was serving its purpose and the solution was found within the existing technological frame. Even though the innovation was a process innovation it did not humble the whole process. The existing technological frame for the cement works was a certain way or process of making cement, which is still used.
The aim for the management now is to get the first certificate for cement works in Norway, after the "lighthouse-company" model. This is a way of building partnership with business, industry and trade. The model is adopted from the city of Kristiansand, situated at the south coast of Norway. The "lighthouse-company" model is developed in Kristiansand and is an alternative to heavy certification systems like EMAS and ISO14001. It is especially adjusted to small and medium size enterprises. The requirements for each trade is mainly developed in Kristiansand, but Hurum and Fredrikstad have also developed requirements for some trades ("Bærekraftige lokalsamfunn 1996-99. Sluttrapport. Fredrikstad"). In Hurum the requirements are developed for cement works, Buskerud Betongvarefabrikk AS leads the way here. In Hurum, this project started in co-operation with the Trade and Industry Board. The board is quite active and the leader of the board was one of the members in the executive committee of the SLC-project. All together approximately fifteen companies participated in Hurum and Fredrikstad. In accordance, Hole and Nittedal want to adapt the model. Hole has arranged an information meeting about this theme in co-operation with the municipality of Ringerike. Nittedal municipality's contact with private sector has been a lecture given to several enterprises by the leader of the political LA21-committee.
It can seem like that it is more partnership building with business than organisations and citizens. The business companies are participating on an equal level and can by this set its own standard. Buskerud Betongvarefabrikk AS, for example, got the opportunity to use their competence in developing requirements. It is also clear that the reason why the fabric was forced to take action was pressure from other relevant groups. It is also obvious that the project with emphasise on sustainable actions enabled them to take measures and solve their problems. In this case the process of LA21 led to sociotechnical changes by building partnership between the municipality and a group of companies.
This part will be concentrate about the division between experts and lay-people, or as Bijker puts it; the issue of democracy and the role of experts (1996). The case of the Steins Fjord, a lake in Hole, is interesting in this sense. The experts in this case are external consultants and employees within the municipality organisation. The weight here will be put on the external experts.
The external experts have been contacted to solve a big and long-lasting problem in Hole. As mentioned in "the story about the municipality of Hole", the problem is how to reduce the nutrients in the lake. It has been worked with this problem for twenty years. The experts have done a lot of effort, especially the first ten years. In 1988 the municipality worked out a plan for treatment of the water. The local democracy was the driving forces in this process. And even more work could be done when the municipality got an environmental adviser in 1992. So when LA21 started in Hole, it did not turn everything upside-down, but it gave the citizens possibilities to come with concrete solutions in the form of projects that they themselves could carry through. The idea of three men in Hole, to harvest Elodea canadensis, was accepted.
One of the initiator of the harvest-project described his experience like this:
"What has been damaging so far is the domination of experts and our dependence on them - it is merely not allowed to use your head if it is not approved on the top - this is not inspiring for participation from the population. On the one hand it is said: "Come with ideas!" - and on the other hand: "we cannot do it because we do not know the full consequences of it, blah, blah..." The result is that only a few groups dare to challenge the experts. Ordinary people understand only that they cannot do much" (Hole f 20.05.99).
The quotation will be used to shed light over several problems connected to the dichotomy experts versus lay-people. The first is the dependency of the experts and their legitimacy or peoples' trust in them. The second is the notion of experts.
To the first issue, the initiator that was interviewed pointed to lay-people's dependence of the experts and their authority. Many pieces of work show that this ambivalence in the relationship between experts and lay-people is normal, according to Wynne (1998:52). Wynne writes about trust and that lack of trust in experts has its roots in the dependency and possible alienation, of course this is not always the case. If the statement from the initiator count for many people in Hole, one can argue that they feel alienated from the problem because their experience and suggestions are not appreciated and because the experts have been working with it for many years. It seems like if communication and interaction between these two groups are missing in Hole or that interpretative flexibility is at stake. A feeling of alienation and powerlessness amongst citizens, can be results of the scientific and technological elite's domination in society, according to Fiorino (1990). Wynne (1998:44) has also observed the same thing, that the scientific language has dominated the discourse around environmental issues. In this way, he points out; authorities, environmental organisations and others use scientific "facts" to build up their rhetoric. This scientific discourse excludes a broad discussion that should include lay-people.
Fiorino thinks that the standard ways of solving problems are too technocratic orientated and less democratic, with emphasise only on the experts perception and understanding of a problem. Andersen and Sørensen (1994:128) defines a technocratic control system as a system where experts (with technological or other kind of education) rule because of specialised knowledge and the experts' leading positions in dominating political and economic institutions. Andersen and Sørensen claim that the technocratic way of thinking, with convince of a rational social world, still exists. Fiorino states that this technocratic orientation not necessarily creates a problem, but that there are arguments and signs that proves that it can be a problem. An argument Fiorino has is that lay people sees things that the experts do not see (Fiorino 1990:227) and their perceptions are therefore of value in the process. He adds that technical orientation is difficult to amalgamate with democratic practise. With communication and interaction between experts and lay-people, they could learn from each other. This interplay could have resulted in a good solution where everybody felt responsible and involved. According to the environmental adviser in Hole, it was regarded as sufficient representation of the public through the local politicians' participation. In the eyes of the municipality, the politicians represent the people and can thereby give contributions from "the man in the street". From this point of view, the lay-people, here the politicians could contribute in the process. But involving politicians can not be said to be the same as ensuring broad participation.
The initiator disagreed with the way the experts in Hole have been working. He criticised them for using too much time on registration and surveillance without experimenting with solutions during the process. He stated that for many experts it seemed that the way was the goal and the longer the way was the better. But he meant that this could paralyse action. This points to the problem of scientific uncertainty. Experts are often asked to make recommendations for policymakers. Often they do not have enough time or money to investigate the problem. When it comes to environmental problems, the complexity is great and not easily observable (Beder 1993:121). What also make scientific "facts" uncertain are the not intended consequences (Andersen and Sørensen 1994:204) which can be of a positive or a negative sort. These two factors create uncertainty of facts and information. It can be that the initiator did not have the insight in the working methods of the experts but he could also be right. Anyway the initiator and his fellows interpreted the way of working towards a solution, differently than the experts. The experts worked the way they thought best. This shows how interpretative flexibility leads to a controversy between experts and lay-people.
To the second issue, Bijker claims that the notion of experts can be questioned. In one of his articles he asks: "Who are the experts?" Bijker argues for a new notion of experts; lay-people have own specific expertise. Lay-people are a relevant social group and hence their knowledge and insight are relevant for the process. The knowledge relevant for a process should thus be involved in the process as early as possible (Bijker 1996:13). Many others consider Bijker's concept of experts as controversial. Traditionally and in the technocratic way of thinking, an expert is a person with technical or scientific background on the issue at stake. This new or different notion of experts correlates to a great extent to LA21. As LA21 should be a broadly open process where partnership is a central element, the participants or the partner's knowledge, interests and meaning must be equally valued.
These controversies between experts and lay-people, and about acknowledging lay-peoples' opinions, are still present in Hole. Until now it seems like the solutions have been only intermediate and not long-term. By opening up for lay-people, and elaborate this possibility further, they can avoid to block the whole process. Rather they can be on the way to a sociotechnical change and a more sustainable development in connection to the fjord.
What can be the hindrances or obstacles for sociotechnical change and the LA21 process in general? The informants mentioned many different hindrances.
One thing was the difficulties with the global perspective, how to apply it locally. As A21 and the UN Human Development Report (1999) states it is important to expand people's awareness and consciousness of their citizenship, not only of their country, but also in the world-wide society. For the actors in the Norwegian municipalities it seemed difficult to implement the perspective and find the resulting consequences. The perspective was considered important, but not practically useable. A change toward global sustainability with concerns about wider issues than the local ones cannot be reached by neglecting this perspective because it is difficult.
The high living standard was considered another obstacle for implementing LA21 and A21. The fact that Norway is a rich country was said to make it difficult to save and be careful with e.g. money, materials and the environment. The UN Human Development Report (1999) places Norway on second place, of all the countries of the world, when it comes to information flow, resource flow and trade flow. The report considers this as high human development and in this sense Norway can be considered a rich country in many ways. This can be a cause for the sinking willingness to participate in e.g. joint efforts and voluntary work. The environmental adviser in Fredrikstad said: "We are used to use natural resources without paying for it. Use of natural resources is priced too low and no market mechanisms provide the price it deserves" (Fredrikstad a 15.09.99). Many of the projects were actually directed to change peoples' attitude towards consumption and unlimited use of natural resources and goods. This is something that will not happen overnight, and that was considered a very important task.
A third hindrance was lack of time, knowledge and human resources. All the environmental advisers had other tasks to perform as well as the implementation of LA21 and A21. Instructions and orders to do other tasks could not just be pushed aside. Some of the environmental advisers experienced to stand alone in their work and some called for more involvement from the citizens and other potential collaborators. On the other hand, some of the persons outside the municipality organisation complained about the municipality's inertia when it came to action. It is obvious that a change toward a sustainable society takes time and up-dated knowledge. How much resources LA21 work gets is in many cases a political question. But other actors like business or organisations have to contribute here as well. Lack of knowledge can lead to a negative picture of environmental involvement. A problem of normalisation of environmental involvement and lack interest in environmental issues in general could be traced in some places. Two of the environmental advisers mentioned the picture of an environment fundamentalist person with violet- or "Palestine"-scarf that sat in chains to protect the nature from interference. This picture was still in the minds of some actors, but especially after seminars or courses, a shift in picture emerged towards regarding environmental involved people as more "normal". But working towards normalisation of environmental involvement, and educating actors were considered important.
A fourth thing was that the municipalities in Norway have decision-power over many things, but there are still many rules and frames given by the national government to navigate after as well as areas with very limited influence and power. So a hindrance could be the limited scope of the municipality's authority. An example was that it was difficult to create good tender projects with environmental perspective, for example for a buying department, because of regulations from e.g. the European Union. For many of the environmental advisers this was a hindrance for actions, even though the politician in Nittedal did not see any overall hindrances he meant that the hindrances were primarily inside Nittedal. This has a relation to the possible problem of mismatch between the policy on the national level and on the municipality level (Aall et al. 1999). The municipalities are often more ambitious that the central authorities and want to go far behind the national environmental policy, this is also supported by a research in Lafferty et al (1997:183). In Fredrikstad the environmental adviser pointed to the importance of the national level. For a while Fredrikstad awaited the first move to start with LA21 from the Ministry of the Environment. The environmental adviser thought that it took too many years before anything was done about LA21 in Norway. As a reason for this, he thought of the MIK-reform. The Ministry of Environment was turned towards MIK with huge resources for many years, the focus was conservation and protection of nature and environment and not on consumption, process and participation. It took time to turn and to launch a new "name" and concept. This has characterised the LA21 process in Norway in general (Lafferty et al 1997). It is not stated here that MIK was not something good or useful. But as a continuation of MIK, LA21 is different and the differences must be distinguished and understood. By LA21 preservation is not enough, but a broad participation and change in the social and economical spheres are components as well. Many problems can not be solved at the local level because they do not have the legislative power or because other forces pulls in the opposite direction. An example of this is Hole municipality that wishes to reduce transport. Lately an increase of heavy transport through the municipality has been registered. Norske Skog is to blame for the increase when they reduced the use of train for transport of economical reasons. To change this is out of directly reach for the local authority. These examples show how national authorities can block possible local changes toward sustainability.
A bottleneck was also the confusion of what LA21 really implies. This was most clearly recognisable amongst the politicians and officials in the administration. For example in Nittedal this confusion or uncertainty caused stagnation of the LA21-process for a while and the politician from Nittedal complained about the process of LA21 in this way: "What kind of mean or project is LA21? Is LA21 everything? It is in the act of becoming misused as "sustainable development"? A gradually change in lifestyle is the core. We are left with "cosy projects", it is good and important with socially projects, but it is not enough" (Nittedal i 19.05.99). He further claimed that the politicians' willingness is present, but when it comes to concrete actions, engagement lacks and they are not sure what to do. Confusion and problems with defining roles, role understanding and interpretative flexibility was also the case in Fredrikstad. Not only was the experience there that it took time for the municipality organisation to find its role, but also for the other participants. In the first phase of establishing committees, time to talk, get to know each other and each others interests, interpretations and values and to build a common platform on which to interact.
Another hindrance was also inertia in the established system and way of thinking. The existing technological frame in the two energy examples and in the case of Buskerud Betongvarefabrikk AS shows how difficult it is to try to make changes in a system that is functioning. When there is no preserving demand after change, there is not so much reason to do something.
The obstacles and difficulties met in the process of LA21 are of course of different character. Some of the hindrances are easier to cope with than other hindrances. The difficult ones can be for example the municipalities limited autonomy and decision-power and then potentially mismatches between local and national policy. Hindrances of such character takes much time to overcome, if it is possible to overcome it at all and in many occasions it is only possible to influence such hindrances indirectly. Another type is confusion of what LA21 is. More information and interactive learning can solve this.
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