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Understanding and Acting Within Loweswater: A Community Approach to Catchment Management

  • Start date: 01 June 2007
  • End date: 31 December 2010

This project, funded by the research councils’ Rural Environment and Land Use Programme, has been devised by ecologists (Lisa Norton and Stephen Maberly - Centre for Hydrology and Ecology, Lancaster), a geographer (Nigel Watson, Geography, Lancaster University) and a sociologist of the environment (Claire Waterton, Sociology, Lancaster University). The project is concerned to work with the Loweswater community to bring together local, practice-based and policy-based knowledges concerning algal pollution in Loweswater Lake. This approach means thinking about pollution, regulation and policy in potentially new ways and involves working with farmers, residents, the water utilities, DEFRA, the Environment Agency, the National Trust and the National Park Authority (among others). The project conceptualises the physical pollution problem as one also related to economic stress, clashing epistemic cultures, communication barriers and policy and community change. An important goal of the research is to experiment with a new civil society organisation, the ‘Loweswater Knowledge Collective’, for the sharing of expertise, deliberative and negotiated planning - and towards more sustainable social/economic/environmental realities in Loweswater.