Abstract of PhD Thesis

Public Attitudes to Solid Waste Infrastructure and the Role of Compensation in Siting Decisions

Louise A. Gallagher (2007), University College Dublin

This PhD thesis examines public attitudes and the role of compensation policies concerning large-scale infrastructural developments for solid waste management that are deemed necessary but represent a significant cost burden at the local level.  The methodology includes a high quality contingent valuation survey which gauges attitudes and elicits measures of compensation for the siting of waste management facilities.  Four communities involved in different stages of siting and operations for regional-scale landfill and incinerator developments in Ireland were examined.  The research generates empirical data on public attitudes to these developments and the concept of compensation for hosting them within the local areas.  Firstly, it examines the influence of particular factors, such as time and distance, on acceptance and rejection of both the developments.  Secondly, it examines protest and acceptance of compensation offers in these communities and generates estimates for compensation values.  Finally, the thesis explores the relevance of the findings for policymakers concerning appropriate levels and means of compensation in what are highly contentious developments.  The findings imply that while there is no single simple compensation package that will achieve acceptance by all, compensation policies for communities hosting waste facilities have a positive influence, once the community is thoroughly engaged in processes for mitigating their concerns.