The role of public communication in decision making for waste management infrastructure

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Title: The role of public communication in decision making for waste management infrastructure
Authors: Kirkman, R
Voulvoulis, N
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Modern waste management provision seeks to meet challenging objectives and strategies while reflecting community aspirations and ensuring cost-effective compliance with statutory obligations. Its social acceptability, which affects both what systems (infrastructure) can be put in place and to what extent their implementation will be successful, is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, often not well understood. In light of the growing evidence that decisions to build new infrastructure are often contested by the public, there is a clear need to understand the role of scientific evidence in public perception, particularly as environmental infrastructure delivery is often objected to by the public on environmental grounds. In this paper the need for waste management infrastructure is reviewed, and the way its delivery in the UK has evolved is used as an example of the role of public perception in the planning and delivery of waste facilities. Findings demonstrate the vital role of public communication in waste management infrastructure delivery. Public perception must be taken into account early in the decision making process, with the public informed and engaged from the start. There is a pressing need for people not simply to accept but to understand and appreciate the need for infrastructure, the nature of infrastructure investments and development, the costs and the benefits involved, and the technological aspects. Scientific evidence and literacy have a critical role to play, facilitating public engagement in a process that empowers people, allowing them to define and handle challenges and influence decisions that will impact their lives. Problem ownership, and an increased probability of any solutions proposed being selected and implemented successfully are potential benefits of such approach.
Issue Date: 18-Jun-2016
Date of Acceptance: 2-Jun-2016
ISSN: 1432-1009
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 640
End Page: 647
Journal / Book Title: Environmental Management
Volume: 203
Issue: Part 2
Copyright Statement: © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Keywords: Communication
Public perception
Social acceptability
Waste management
MD Multidisciplinary
Environmental Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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