Evaluating river restoration appraisal procedures: the case of the UK
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The primary aim of this thesis is to detail and evaluate the appraisal frameworks and techniques employed on river restoration projects in the UK. This research evaluates the extent to which restoration projects have implemented the appraisal frameworks and techniques proposed in the practical restoration literature, and examines barriers to the incorporation of appraisal into river restoration projects. An ideal type appraisal framework is developed in this thesis and is used as a tool against which to evaluate the nature and extent of UK river restoration project appraisal. This research was undertaken through a national and a regional investigation of appraisal procedures. The national investigation is designed to be extensive and aims to draw out the basic dimensions of river restoration projects and appraisal. The regional investigation, in contrast, intensive adopting a case study approach which examines in detail how appraisal has and has not been implemented. The national investigation involved a questionnaire survey, sent to 161 people involved in 440 river restoration projects (80% response rate achieved). The regional investigation of the Thames region of the Environment Agency (EA) focused in detail on three case study sites (River Ravensbourne, River Cole and Upper River Kennet) undertaking twenty-five in-depth interviews with restoration practitioners. This enabled the appraisal and decision-making structures of these three projects to be evaluated. This thesis argues that it is not only the structure of a project's appraisal which influences a project's trajectory but also the nature and composition of the decision-making structure. The influence of scientific and lay knowledge in decision making is also explored. This thesis concludes by drawing together key empirical, theoretical and practical findings from these investigations. The results of this research are discussed and evaluated against how effectively UK river restoration projects incorporate the ideal type appraisal framework proposed in Chapter 2. The results of this research are further evaluated in the light of a workshop on river restoration appraisal (undertaken in November 2002) where appraisal frameworks are discussed and ways of including appraisals in river restoration projects are put forward.
- Theses