Keywords: decision making, legal aspects, regional safety planning, risk analysis, risk assessment, law
Legal questions of regional safety planning
Regional safety planning is a coherent view of safety issues that attempts to establish a coordinated safety policy in a region. From a legal viewpoint this is a challenge, because traditionally the different legal instruments are applied independently. This leads to results that are sometimes not very consistent. Regional safety planning needs coordination among all the involved authorities and different laws. Unlike safety planning within a private enterprise, where all the decisions can be taken by one body, regional safety planning must take into account a lot of different actors with their corresponding legal rights and duties. Regional safety planning is a complex task, which should be undertaken only in complex situations. The existing legal framework has to be respected. This may lead to results that differ from those reached from purely technical considerations, for example different risk sources may be treated differently because of different legislations, even though the risk may be the same; the results of a risk-benefit analysis depends on whose risks and whose benefits are taken into account; and cost effectiveness cannot be applied without taking into account the distribution of costs and risks. Regional safety planning must be implemented by legal means, such as regulation, economic incentives, and land-use planning. Decisions about measures to be taken must take into account the existing formal competences and the need for democratic legitimation of risk-related decisions.