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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H043861/1
Title: Community acceptance of new waste management facilities - a public engagement pilot-project
Principal Investigator: Tyrrel, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Angus, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Applied Sciences
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 11 October 2010 Ends: 10 July 2011 Value (£): 16,075
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Waste Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Feb 2010 PPE Starter Grants Call 1 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Our current production, consumption and waste disposal patterns are considered to be unsustainable and European waste policy and legislation aims to tackle this problem. There is general agreement that reducing waste is a critical requirement as society seeks to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and to minimise the adverse impacts of climate change. To achieve this we must adopt the principles of the waste hierarchy which advocates a reduction in raw material use and the reuse of products or recycling of resources wherever possible. Where waste cannot be avoided energy should be recovered from it and disposal in landfill should be considered as a last resort. The Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) sets demanding targets to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal landfilled. The UK has set out its approach to meeting the requirements of the Landfill Directive in its waste strategy documents. A critical prerequisite for the delivery of the waste strategy is the need for investment in new waste management infrastructure. The diversion of biodegradable municipal waste away from landfill requires new facilities that are able to recover recyclable material and to process the waste such that any residual material is acceptable for landfilling. This requirement has driven the development of new and improved waste processing technologies such as composting and anaerobic digestion for source segregated wastes and mechanical biological treatment, gasification and incineration for residual waste. The planning process has been identified as a significant barrier to the development of this much needed waste treatment and energy from waste infrastructure however. Planning processes that are slow, expensive and which carry a high risk of refusal are unattractive to investors. Local opposition to new waste infrastructure is factor common to the problems that are evident in the planning process. Such opposition is often known as the NIMBYism (not in my back yard) attitude. Common concerns include sensory impacts (appearance, noise, smell, and vibration), public health impacts, ecological impacts, traffic, and impact on property prices - amongst others. A significant number of these concerns relate to new technologies, their fitness for purpose in the local context, and the effectiveness of components designed to minimise risks to human health and the environment. New approaches are required in public engagement and communication of information on cutting edge environmental technologies and the research underpinning them to tackle the so called NIMBY blockade . The expert partners in this proposed project are pioneering new ways of engaging with the public which enable local people to play a role in the development right from the outset; to specify the information on environmental technology options that they are concerned about; and in doing so better understand the process that they are a part of. This new approach provides the basis for the proposed public engagement partnership.In this project we aim to engage with people who are interested in and concerned about a waste management / energy from waste facility development in their local area. The project will focus on identifying, developing and communicating information that addresses people's concerns regarding the performance, effectiveness and overall fitness-for purpose of one or more environmental technologies. Academics and expert communicators will work together over the course of nine months on a real-life project. The effectiveness of the communication activity will be evaluated. The proposed project is designed as a pilot. Should the project be successful this would provide the basis for a more substantive, longer term public engagement project subsequently.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk