Salim Vohra
Public Perceptions of Health Risk

research: health, risk, public perceptions, decisionmaking

Understanding Public Perceptions of Environmental
and Health Risks and Integrating them into the EIA,
Siting and Planning Process

PhD Thesis, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2003


This was my post-doctoral thesis that I did between 1999 - 2003 based on fieldwork in Islington, London, England.

Community concerns and protests at the siting of technological facilities in their neighbourhoods have increasingly been recognised as important social phenomena.

This thesis describes a qualitative study exploring this issue during the siting and planning process for a waste transfer station in an urban neighbourhood in London, England. It shows that individuals and communities are intuitive, emotional, imaginative and reasoned in their responses to such siting processes. In effect, they seem to be undertaking a wider, largely qualitative, form of risk and hazard assessment that takes into account their own personal and professional experiences as well as long term social, economic and political factors.