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The Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy

Edited by Ysé Serret and Nick Johnstone

This publication is a milestone in the analysis of the distributional impacts of environmental policy, building upon existing literature to simultaneously examine disparities in the distribution of environmental impacts and in the distribution of financial effects amongst households.
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Chapter 6: Exposure to Environmental Urban Noise Pollution in Birmingham, UK

Julii S. Brainard, Andrew P. Jones and Ian J. Bateman


Julii S. Brainard, Andrew P. Jones, Ian J. Bateman and Andrew A. Lovett 1. INTRODUCTION Recent decades have seen increased recognition that biases within environmental policy-making and regulatory processes, combined with discriminatory market forces, may lead to disproportionate exposures to environmental disamenities amongst certain population groups. In the context of examining such discrepancies, the terms ‘environmental equity’ and ‘environmental justice’ are sometimes used synonymously (Harding and Holdren, 1993), although distinctions can be made. Lavelle (1994) suggests that environmental equity implies an equal sharing of risk burdens, but not necessarily a reduction in the total burden of pollution. Cutter (1995) argues that environmental justice implies much more, including remedial action to correct an injustice imposed upon a specific subgroup of society. Perlin et al. (1995) further advocate that environmental justice should achieve adequate protection from harmful hazardous agents for everyone, regardless of ethnicity, age or socio-economic status. Potential effects of high noise on human welfare can include nuisance, disrupted sleep patterns, hearing loss, perceptions of poor well-being and loss of quality of life or impaired mental health. Furthermore, stressrelated health effects can be psychological, behavioural or physical in manifestation (Stansfield et al., 2000; Passchier-Vermeer and Passchier, 2000). Haines et al. (2001) reported that children attending four schools located in high aircraft noise areas showed evidence of impaired reading comprehension and high levels of noise annoyance. Evans and Maxwell (1997) also found that 6–8 year olds exposed to chronic aircraft noise were more likely to suffer...

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