Transmission lines are critical infrastructures, but frequently contested especially at the local level, bylocal communities. The role of public engagement in processes pertaining to specific transmission lineprojects is an under-researched, yet important topic that this paper seeks to discuss by investigating howinhabitants perceive these processes and to what extent they find the processes just and fair. This paperaddresses the participatory aspects of the planning process, as perceived by the local inhabitants in fourNorway and UK cases, by using a qualitative comparative case study design. We further analyse this issuethrough frameworks of public engagement and procedural justice. In both countries public engagement islargely characterized by perceptions of insufficient information, and insufficient influence on the process.In sum, the findings indicate that the informants generally perceive the opportunities for involvementas insufficient and unjust. The findings are quite similar across all cases and both countries. Local inhab-itants represent diverse groups who often have different levels of knowledge, time and engagement tobring to the planning process. Their requests for improved processes thus underline the serious publicengagement challenges that applicants and decision-makers face. Sustainable grid development Involvement Public engagement Communication Consultation Participation Procedural justice © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.