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Power Responsibility and Justice: A Review of Local Stakeholder Participation in European Flood Risk Management

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Local Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Issue number4
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)383-397
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/01/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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 (e.g. structural defence, spatial planning and property-level protection measures). Local stakeholder involvement is seen to be important because governments lack the capacities such as knowledge and funding required to deliver all these measures alone. This paper focuses on the implications that more participative approaches have on the fairness of European flood risk management (FRM). Studies of environmental justice are well placed to address this question because they are interested in who is included and excluded from decisions related to the distribution of environmental goods (resources) and bads (risks). Existing literature suggests that fair decision-making processes (procedural justice) can lead to fair distribution or resources and risks (distributive justice). This literature review of 30 peer-reviewed papers provides an analysis of justice and FRM by assessing practices of participation which are presented in the recent literature on local stakeholder involvement in FRM in England, Germany and the Netherlands. It was found that participation in practice generally focuses on transferring responsibility to the local level at the expense of power. This paper discusses the implications that this finding has for justice and synthesises potential ways forward based on recommendations of the reviewed literature.