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Environmental Quality and the Poor: An Unjust Link? PowerPoint Presentation
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Environmental Quality and the Poor: An Unjust Link?

Environmental Quality and the Poor: An Unjust Link?

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Environmental Quality and the Poor: An Unjust Link?

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  1. Environmental Quality and the Poor: An Unjust Link? Dr Gordon Mitchell School of Geography & Institute for Transport Studies University of Leeds, UK CATCH Conference, Liverpool, June 2005

  2. OVERVIEW ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE What is it? How is issue developing? ANALYSIS Evidence of environmental inequality? RESPONSES Interpretation? What could be done?

  3. Environmental Justice Origins • US civil rights movement • “Toxic waste and race” “Unequal enforcement” • Class actions • Presidential Order on Environmental Justice

  4. EJ in the UK • ‘Top down’ drivers • Rio, Aarhus, EU directive, SD commission • Government commitment that “none should be seriously disadvantaged because of where they live” • An alternative focus • Deprivation and a wider conception of ‘environment’ EJ is a goal of 2005 SD strategy

  5. Evidence for Env Inequality? • USA – few good studies • UK – Pre 2003 • Few studies (most of single city air quality) • Little replication (pollutants, social indicator, study areas, spatial scales etc) • Inconclusive results • UK small area studies now providing robust data

  6. Which env issues? What type of impact? Which social groups? What spatial analysis? Cumulative / indirect impact assessment? Statistical tests? Data quality? Impact types… Health impact Received dose Micro-scale concentration Concentration Emission Proximity Accurate ComplexExpensive SimplerCheaper Method Questions…

  7. NO2 (‘Exceedence’ wards – England) 2.5 million people live in wards with annual mean NO2 > 40ug/m3 Of these more than half are in the most deprived 20% of population ‘Poor’ wards ‘Affluent’ wards

  8. PM10(Peak values - England) All 8,414 wards sorted from highest to lowest ward mean PM10 concentration Plot shows social distribution of highest 5% (= 2.5 million people) ‘Affluent’ wards ‘Poor’ wards

  9. IPC study • No. of sites per ward • Codepoint analysis - shows households within a site buffer (allows cumulative assessment) • A ‘crude’ analysis, (only proximity, ward IMD etc)….. but gives first insight

  10. IPC Sites, Authorisations and Emissions (Sites in ward count) CI values 0.22 (sites) 0.25 (authorisations) 0.26 (emissions) ‘Poor’ ‘Affluent’ Compared to the most ‘affluent’ wards, the ‘poorest’ wards have more IPC sites (x5), authorised processes (X5) and emission sources (x7)

  11. In England 375,000 people live within 1km of a waste incinerator… …51% of these are also amongst the most deprived 20% of population Analysis by IPC site type (‘Codepoint’ method) • IPC sites tend to be located in more deprived communities(irrespective of industry type) ‘Affluent’ ‘Poor’

  12. Results Summary • Environmental ‘bads’ more prevalent in ‘poor’ communities • The poorest air quality (NO2, PM10, CO, benzene, SO2) • IPC sites and site clusters • IPC authorised processes • IPC emissions (NOx, PM10 and carcinogens) • High hazard and high offence IPC sites • Derelict and contaminated land • Poor / seriously polluted rivers • Risk from coastal flooding Sources: Mitchell and Dorling (2003); Walker and Mitchell (2004); Fairburn et al (2005)

  13. Environmental ‘bads’ NOT more prevalent in ‘poor’ communities • Risk from fluvial flooding • Landfill sites • Quarries and open cast mines • IPC operator under performance • Distribution of Environmental ‘goods’ • Woodlands biased to affluent • Designated local nature reserves and woodland grants investment biased to poor • Overall – a mixed picture, but some clear inequalities Sources: Mitchell and Dorling (2003); Walker and Mitchell (2004); Fairburn et al (2005)

  14. Unequal is not necessarily unfair Knowing how inequalities arise helps people judge when‘unequal is unfair’ Possible inequality mechanisms.. Hazard havens -Facilities sited where land is cheap, objections least Planning protects high quality areas, new LULU’s directed elsewhere.Social housing to lower quality areas Location theory (Tiebout) - e.g. - Wealthy seek better environment; - Poor attracted by better jobs, houses Risk perception varies by social group Interpreting the Results

  15. Pattern over Process? • Some argue that how inequality arises is irrelevant, only the distribution is important • Distributions are fair when people get what they: • Need • Have a right to, or • Deserve / merit On these grounds, the distribution of UK air pollution is unjust NO2 exceedence

  16. Possible Responses to Injustice • 1. Compensate communities • Provide better health care, education or housing for those that bear a burden on behalf of others • 2. Redirect hazard away from the disadvantaged • LU and transport planning to spread risk more evenly • Potential problems of more people in total at risk, lost employment, political viability (NIMBY reaction)?

  17. 3. Target clean up resources to most unacceptable areas Multi-ward “air quality - poverty hotspots” in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and Nottingham Consistent with current neighbourhood renewal approach Pollution-Poverty hotspots AQ index > 1.5 AND IMD decile 1 Walker and Mitchell (2004)

  18. 4. Raise environmental performance overall (?) • An EJ debate – are social justice and environmental sustainability compatible? • Little empirical analysis - air quality studies give some insight Leeds air quality - road pricing study

  19. No Charge Environmental Equity in Leeds under Road Pricing Single Cordon Double Cordon 2 p km Suggests environmental & SJ goals are compatible, but need more evidence 10 p km 20 p km ‘Affluent’ ‘Poor’

  20. 5. Consider social equity in environmental appraisal • Ensure decision makers have information on how equity patterns may respond to development (PPPs) • SEA process offers a framework to do this • Important to include public in assessing and responding to injustice Voluntary agreements may help, but public may gain legal right to redress under EJ directive

  21. CONCLUSIONS EJ is an emerging issue that policy and plan makers will need to address Environmental inequality and injustice clearly do occur in the UK The best long term solution is probably to include EJ issues in participatory SEA /SA

  22. Thank youFurther information : g.mitchell@leeds.ac.uk