How apathy affects infrastructure projects - 52M Consulting Limited

How apathy affects infrastructure projects

You might think that it's opposition to infrastructure schemes that holds-up progress, but in many ways apathy is to blame.


For any given development, up to 20% of stakeholders will typically support it, and 50% will hold no strong opinion either way. That leaves in the region of 30% that will oppose it.

This means that fully 70% of people will be at least neutral if not supportive, and that detractors will be firmly in the minority.

But that's not how council planning committees will see it. To them, the 30% will appear to be a massive majority of people dead set against the proposals.


Easy: because of apathy among the 70%.

While many may be supportive, they won't generally respond to public consultations, often (wrongly) assuming that their opinions just won't count or that others will speak-up. Either way, planners are rarely inundated with positive representations.

And, of course, those that don't hold an opinion aren't going to express that because, well, they have nothing to say.

Which means only those in the remaining 30% that oppose it will typically engage in the democratic decision-making process, giving their objections undue weight.

Improving the chances of a successful local planning outcome therefore means engaging with those in the 70% and encouraging them to have a say - even if that's just to say they don't object to proposals; it's OK to be 'meh'.

A broader range of views makes for much better decision-making by ensuring that all stakeholders are heard, and means developments don't get unfairly shelved because one section of a community is disproportionately over-represented.


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