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Research on controversial applications and the way public representations are being made

Date: 23/8/2017

Strathclyde University are conducting research on controversial applications and the way public representations are being made; has your authority received a high level of representations - over one thousand?


I am interested in conducting research on controversial applications and particularly the way public representations are being made. Whilst my main area of research is fracking developments, it is clear that modern communications technology has significantly changed public representations. This is shaping the format, volume and substance of representations made on controversial applications. The days of affected concerned local residents writing to LPAs to raise their concerns have been surpasses by automated systems which forward standardised representation from anywhere in the world, as a type popularity contest or opinion poll. Although since these website are self promoting and self selective on opinions the views expressed are representative of sections of society and the participants often have only a cursory interest in the local affects.

The works I've done so far, mostly related to fracking developments in Lancs, Notts & NYorks and briefly looking at a few other controversial developments, shows that these automated systems can distort issues, generate representation from well beyond affected areas. These auto-representations subject LPAs to substantial additional workload.

There's also some perverse contradictions on claims that some decision have overturned local democracy whilst representations are mostly not local.

I am seeking to get contacts with LPAs that have received high level of representations - which I take to be over one thousand. I am interested in conducting research on some of these to assess (a) the way in which the representation was submitted, (b) the geographic spread of representations, for different types of development, (c) whether this affects the substance of representations and (d) the extent to which representations are orchestrated or organised. It would also be interesting to see whether and what systems LPAs have to handle these auto-representations. The experience of the LPAs involved with fracking suggest they do not.

  • Chris Ford, BA. MBA. MSc. MRTPI., Civil & Environmental Engineering,Faculty of Engineering,University of Strathclyde,James Weir Building, 75 Montrose St.,Glasgow G1 1XJ
  • christopher.ford@strath.ac.uk
  • +44 141 548 3161
  • +44 7831 175200

 

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