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How the stories of ordinary people could give them more say over planning decisions

g these. Often, however, they know very little about how people will respond to particular developments.

"We are now aware that the issue is not simply one of 'educating away' public misunderstanding of what is best, as recent controversies over GM foods and the siting of mobile phone masts have clearly demonstrated.

"Ordinary people's accounts, in their own everyday language, are an essential ingredient in the whole process of drawing up plans and making important environmental decisions."

Professor Pidgeon argues that people's experience of environmental risk and their response to it is bound up with their own identity and sense of place. And this can only be captured through sensitive interviewing at the location concerned.

This sort of approach is also the best way to investigate the culture of a particular place and the way risks are interpreted locally, he says.

Professor Pidgeon added: "A key aim of our project is to offer some insight into how gathering the stories of people in this way can help in the deliberations between them and the authorities, and ultimately lead to decisions which are acceptable to all sectors of society"


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Contact: Becky Gammon
becky.gammon@esrc.ac.uk
44-179-341-3122
Economic & Social Research Council
27-Jan-2005


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