An ethical dimension to sustainable restoration and long-term management of contaminated areas

Oughton, Deborah; Forsberg, Ellen-Marie; Bay, Ingrid; Kaiser, Matthias; Howard, Brenda. 2004 An ethical dimension to sustainable restoration and long-term management of contaminated areas. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 74 (1-3). 171-183.

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Experience after the Chernobyl accident has shown that restoration strategies need to consider a wide range of different issues to ensure the long-term sustainability of large and varied contaminated areas. Thus, the criteria by which we evaluate countermeasures need to be extended from simple cost–benefit effectiveness and radiological protection standards to a more integrated, holistic approach, including social and ethical aspects. Within the STRATEGY project, the applicability of many countermeasures is being critically assessed using a wide range of criteria. Attention is being given to issues such as practicability, feasibility, capacity and environmental side-effects, as well as social factors such as public perceptions of risk, communication of information and the need for dialogue and consultation with affected communities, and ethical aspects such as informed consent and the fair distribution of costs and doses. Although such socio-ethical factors are now the subject of a substantial field of research, there has been little attempt to integrate them in a practical context for decision makers. Within this paper, we specifically consider the ethical aspects of restoration strategies and suggest practical means by which these can be taken into account in the decision making process, introducing a value matrix. The paper covers two critical areas: evaluation of individual countermeasures, and use of the matrix to ensure transparent and systematic consideration of values in selection of a restoration strategy.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > SE01B Sustainable Monitoring, Risk Assessment and Management of Chemicals
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Environmental Chemistry & Pollution
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 25 Apr 2012 10:57 +0 (UTC)

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