The effectiveness of local air pollution control in Lancashire

Slinger, Peter Gerard (2002) The effectiveness of local air pollution control in Lancashire. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis examines the implementation of air pollution control at the local level within the UK. Focusing upon the local air pollution control regime (LAPC) that is regulated by local authorities under the provisions of Part One of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the research assesses whether this system has been effective in controlling localised emissions from industrial processes. To place the research in context, it essentially evaluates the implementation of LAPC with reference to its main objectives: to reduce industrial emissions and improve local air quality, to provide greater clarity and certainty for business and to allow the public greater access to local environmental information.
The methodology adopted to undertake the research was based upon grounded theory and naturalistic inquiry. As such, the research programme was structured in phases where initially, essential baseline data was collected on the LAPC system. This quantitative data provided the foundations from which more detailed qualitative work was undertaken in the field in subsequent phases of the research. This allowed the research to build towards theory utilising an emergent, yet structured research design. As the research progressed, a range of complementary methods were used to collect data about the LAPC system. Initially, the research critically evaluated the major Reports that had been written on LAPC in order to establish benchmarks from which implementation of the LAPC system could be assessed. To keep the research within defined limits, a
case study approach was adopted, using Lancashire as the case study area. Under the first phase of the research a questionnaire was used to survey the process operators within the region in order to collect baseline information about their processes and to obtain their views and perceptions of the LAPC system. Under the second phase qualitative research was carried out in the field. This involved detailed, semi-structured, faceto-face interviews with the process operators and the DETR and examination of documentary evidence within the Public Registers held by Lancashire's local authorities. The phased approach allowed the research to explore progressively deeper into the key areas associated with the implementation of the LAPC system. In particular, the research examined local authority enforcement and administration of the LAPC system to assess their regulatory performance and to determine the strategies they adopt to achieve compliance. The research also focused upon the process operators to assess their capacity to comply with the duties and
responsibilities placed upon them under LAPC.
The work offers a new perspective as it focuses upon both regulators and operators alike and examines their performance from the outset of LAPC to its closing stages. The research findings allow conclusions to be drawn on the relationship that exists between these "stakeholders" and the regulatory conditions that exist within the system. The research findings suggest that local authorities and process operators have had difficulty in discharging their duties under the LAPC system. For various reasons, the capacity of the regulators and the operators to achieve compliance has been compromised. The difficulties that the stakeholders have faced in striving to come to terms with the LAPC system have influenced their compliance strategies and affected the relationship that exists between them. This research identifies and examines these
difficulties and assesses their performance under such conditions.

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