Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Power, responsibility and justice

Electronic data

  • 2017BeggPhD

    Final published version, 2 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Power, responsibility and justice: practices of local stakeholder participation in flood risk management in England and Germany

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
Publication date2018
Number of pages200
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Over the past few decades there has been an increasing interest in the active involvement of local stakeholders in the management of floods in Europe. Such involvement is seen as necessary as the management of floods becomes more complex. Management approaches now seek to include a range of potential measures to reduce risk in addition to structural defence measures (e.g. spatial planning, emergency management, property-level protection measures, etc.). Local stakeholder involvement is seen to be important because governments lack resources, both human and financial, required to deliver all these measures alone.

This thesis draws on a range of literature, concepts, theories as well as qualitative and quantitative data collected in England and Germany to discuss the implications that participative approaches have on the fairness of European flood risk management (FRM). As a result, the studies included in this thesis each provide a specific approach to understanding the role of local stakeholder participation in European FRM but taken together provide a rich and multi-sited contribution to current discussions and debates about environmental justice. Studies of environmental justice are interested in who is included and excluded from decisions related to the distribution of environmental goods (resources) and bads (risks). It is argued that fair decision-making processes arise when power is equally distributed between all (potential) participants (procedural justice). It is also argued that just procedures can lead to fairer distributions in resources and risks (distributional justice). This thesis highlights the difficulties of achieving such justice in practice.

I that participation in practice generally focuses on transferring responsibility to the local level at the expense of power at the local level. In addition, resources are distributed in such a way as to create and strengthen vulnerabilities related to flood risk. It is concluded that if European FRM is to become more just, investments need to be made to ensure that those who are made responsible for FRM (who are often also the most vulnerable to flood impact) accept that responsibility and have the resources required to fulfil that responsibility.