Following the approval of the spatial plan from the Stevin project by the Flemish government, Belgian TSO, Elia decided to go beyond legal requirements on participation and implemented a second round of public meetings.
The “info-moments” were organised together with the spatial planning authority. They aimed at explaining the governmental routing decision, while providing opportunities for the public to formally react on the decision and the further procedures of building the line. Elia decided this time to abstain from the plenary sessions and focus only on the exhibition and one-on-one dialogue. The plenary session in the first information round had triggered the formation of opposition so that the exhibition and direct dialogue format was evaluated as being more productive in providing fact-based knowledge. The open drop-in session format, several hours in length, also made it easier for the interested public to find a suitable point in time for their participation – something that is not the case with a plenary session.
Information about the events was given via the local press, local municipality magazines, and webpages. Furthermore, brochures were distributed to all households close to the future new line. The information material prepared for these sessions was adapted to the regional peculiarities, i.e. information was prepared for each region and thus was more target group specific.
Elia furthermore established a contact e-mail address and free phone line that would be answered by one of the external consultants to respond directly to the most frequently asked questions, while more technical questions were diverted to the respective departments.