Under the Convention, the public has a right to participate in decision-making in environmental matters. Public authorities should enable the public to comment on, for example, proposals for projects affecting the environment, or plans and programmes relating to the environment. The outcome of the public participation process should be taken into consideration in the decision-making process. To facilitate this, information should be made available to help members of the public participate in on the decision-making process and understand the reasons for it.
In the European Union, this part of the Aarhus Convention has been implemented by Directive 2003/35/EC on public participation, also known as 'the Public Participation Directive'.
Several pieces of legislation have been used to transpose the Public Participation Directive into Irish law, including the integration of its requirements into Irish planning law and into legislation governing other environmental consents. For example, in the planning system, members of the public may submit observations on planning applications and may appeal planning decisions to An Bord Pleanála