Channelling sensitivity: the production of justification for shale gas development through the English planning system

Williams, Laurence (2019) Channelling sensitivity: the production of justification for shale gas development through the English planning system. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the participation of the environmental NGO Friends of the Earth (FoE) in a planning inquiry into the company Cuadrilla’s appeal against Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to their proposed shale gas exploration sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road. Participant observation, document analysis and video analysis were employed to chart the treatment of FoE’s arguments at the inquiry. Conceptually, the thesis is interested in the notion of justification, and in particular Stirling’s insight that appraisal processes can, through their design and conduct, be conditioned toward providing justification for particular options (Stirling 1994; Stirling 2008). Four such conditioning influences – termed ‘forms of closure’ here - are found to be operating through the design and conduct of this inquiry and channelling it toward the production of justification for the appeals in question and shale development more broadly. These forms of closure each render the inquiry insensitive to certain arguments and matters of concern raised by FoE by either blunt procedural exclusion or by displaying insensitivity in the conduct of appraisal itself. This thesis builds on existing work on the necessity of and capacity for planning appraisal processes on fracking in the UK to accommodate sceptical public views. In particular, this study contributes fine-grain detail on how participating publics and experts are treated in practice within planning, and makes clear the key influence of prior commitments at the broader level of Government policy. This study also extends the concept of justification by focusing on the ‘downstream’ location of planning appraisal and by considering the relationship between framings of fracking and planning decision-making.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government > JS3000 Europe > JS3001 Great Britain. England
T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy > TN0871.2 Well drilling > TN0871.255 Hydraulic fracturing. Including hydraulic fracturing for natural gas
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 14:11
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 14:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83391

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