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Environmental justice and the distributional deficit in policy appraisal in the UK.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2007
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Journal number4
Volume2
Pages45004
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Environmental justice brings a particular set of concerns to the policy process in asking not only what the environmental impacts of a new policy, programme or regulation might be, but also how these impacts are likely to be distributed across different social groups. This letter evaluates the extent to which appraisal tools currently used to inform environmental and related decision-making in the UK incorporate the analysis of such distributional effects. It reports on research that assessed the existence of requirements for distributional analysis across 16 different appraisal tools, the depth of guidance that is provided for those using the tool and the scope of its coverage. It is concluded that there is distributional deficit in current policy and impact appraisal tools, particularly in the context of the breadth of definition of environmental justice being applied in the UK and the range of population groups with which this is concerned. Only in the health area and in the use of health impact assessment can more positive conclusions be reached. Research evaluating the use of tools in practice is needed and a number of steps to improve on the current situation are discussed.