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Industrial pollution and social deprivation: evidence and complexity in evaluating and responding to environmental inequality.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date08/2005
JournalLocal Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Number of pages17
Original languageEnglish


The local impacts of industrial pollution can take many forms and�whilst uncertain in their scale, severity and distribution�are widely recognised. The question of who in society potentially experiences these impacts through living near to emission sources has been little explored, at least in the UK. This paper reports on a study carried out for the Environment Agency, which examined the distribution of sites coming within the Industrial Pollution Control (IPC) regime against patterns of deprivation. Our analysis provides evidence of a socially unequal distribution of IPC sites in England, with sites disproportionately located and clustered together in deprived areas and near to deprived populations. In discussing these results we emphasise the methodological limitations of this form of environmental justice analysis and the crucial differences between proximity, risk and impact. We also consider the distinction between inequality and injustice and the difficult policy questions which arise when evaluating evidence of environmental inequality, including potential grounds for policy intervention.

Bibliographic note

he final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Local Environment, 10 (4), 2005, © Informa Plc