Governing Disasters
Show Less

Governing Disasters

The Challenges of Emergency Risk Regulation

Edited by Alberto Alemanno

This is the first volume that addresses the complexities of the volcanic ash cloud that overshadowed Europe in April 2011, but has subsequently struck again in Australia, Chile and Europe. It does so from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing upon research from economics, law, sociology and other fields, as well as volcanology and leading expertise in jet engineering. Whilst our knowledge base is wide-ranging, there is a common focus on the practical lessons of the ash cloud crisis both for subsequent eruptions and for emergency risk regulation more generally.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 7: Paradigms Lost: Emergency Safety Regulation under Scientific and Technical Uncertainty

Vincent Brannigan


JOBNAME: Alermanno PAGE: 3 SESS: 5 OUTPUT: Tue Sep 6 13:22:57 2011 7. Paradigms lost: emergency safety regulation under scientific and technical uncertainty Vincent Brannigan 7.1 INTRODUCTION: VOLCANIC ASH 2010 The 2010 shutdown of European airspace exposed critical failures in corporate planning and the international safety regulatory process. After 25 years of work technical regulators had developed a widely publicized regulatory response to a very predictable hazard. The official guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organization was not to fly in volcanic ash. Yet when the Icelandic eruption occurred, transport dislocations and business pressure led to a rapid abandonment of the ‘no-fly’ safety regime in a few days. Rapidly approved, legally permitted levels of ash were then trumpeted as ‘safe levels’ by the various airlines. To date there is little or no published scientific evidence justifying the claim of safety. Some members of the airline community are even proposing a covert approval process that would eliminate any public examination of future ash safety evidence. When society regulates a technology it interacts with the technology developers to create a series of expectations and beliefs that can be described as paradigm. The entire ash event is best understood in terms of a paradigm shift in the technological frames used by the airspace safety community. The volcanic ash crisis has important lessons to all those who regulate in an environment of technological and scientific uncertainty. In a ‘crisis management environment’ well-connected parties can find that exploiting...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.