Exploring the context of consultation: the case of local air quality management
Dorfman, P., Gibbs, D., Leksmono, N., Longhurst, J. and Weitkamp, E. (2010) Exploring the context of consultation: the case of local air quality management. Local Environment - The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 15 (1). pp. 15-26. ISSN 1354-9839
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549830903406040
The Environment Act of 1995 (Part IV) requires local authorities to review and assess air quality in their area of jurisdiction and to determine locations where concentrations of defined pollutants exceed. The ongoing review and assessment process is one of the largest locally based science policy and science consultation initiatives undertaken in the UK. Combining a questionnaire-based survey with in depth case studies has allowed an exploration of the process and the development of better practice guidance for such consultation initiatives. The research suggests that while there are no simple solutions to the dilemma of how best to engage the public in such consultations, there are steps that can be taken to improve consultation. Key factors that facilitate local community participation in such processes include a well-informed and adequately resourced local community and an explicit connection between participatory and decision-making processes. Although the research focused on local air quality management as a case study of consultation mechanisms, the outcomes will be relevant to other locally based environmental management issues.