A conceptual model of the role of complex science in local authority consultations about air quality management
Dorfman, P., Beattie, C., Burnet, F., Gibbs, D., Longhurst, J., Weitkamp, E. and Leksmono, N. (2006) A conceptual model of the role of complex science in local authority consultations about air quality management. Local Environment - The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 11 (4). 399 -419 . ISSN 1354-9839 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/10830
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549830600785563
There exists a clear imperative across the EU and within the UK towards the enhanced integration of community knowledge in environmental and health decision-making processes. The underlying social force that underpins this dynamic is the drive for a more accountable, transparent and publicly acceptable decision-making arena. However, relatively little research has been undertaken on the evaluation of local air quality management consultation in particular. In this context, the paper presents an evaluation of evidence resulting from questionnaire survey and case study research undertaken in the first round of the statutory process of local air quality management (LAQM), in which local authorities are required to consult on their air quality findings and intentions. We suggest that local authority perceptions of the relative abilities of differing stakeholders' grasp of air quality science, the process that translates that science into policy, and the institutional and organizational status of stakeholders (i.e. whether they are statutory or non-statutory stakeholders) may tend to transitively determine the choice of consultation methods used, the communication strategies chosen and the relative integration of stakeholder feedback into the LAQM decision-making process. In order to interrogate this potentially problematic chain of risk communication events, a preliminary conceptual model has been developed to enable the interrogation of the pathways through, and the obstacles to, the translation of air quality knowledge. The task is to unveil the sequential chains of association that comprise the LAQM risk communication process.