Salim Vohra
Dump the Dump!

publication: briefing report

Dump the Dump! understanding public concerns at the siting of waste disposal facilities in their neighbourhoods

Living Knowledge Consulting, 2004

This report is based on a three-year doctoral research project undertaken at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine that was funded by the Economic & Social Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council on ‘Understanding Public and Other Stakeholders Perceptions of Environmental and Health Risks and Integrating them into the EIA and Planning Process’.

Community concerns and protests at the siting of technological facilities in their neighbourhoods have increasingly been recognised as important social phenomena. However, environmental impact assessments (EIAs) undertaken during the planning process have tended to show that the environmental and health risks of these facilities are low. This disjunction in expert and lay discourse has been pejoratively described as NIMBYism (Not In My Backyardism).

More importantly, it has led to a risk perception gap developing between key stakeholders, especially residents and risk professionals, that in turn is having four wider societal consequences: a trust-credibility gap, a knowledge-communication gap, a values-ethics gap and a democratic- accountability gap.