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[en] This paper examines how cumulative effects assessment (CEA) has been considered in Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) of regional and local plans in a number of case studies in the UK. Initially, the paper presents the legislative and regulatory requirements for assessing cumulative effects in plans and programmes in the UK. The two approaches for assessing plans in the UK, Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and SEA are discussed and in most cases, a combined SA and SEA process is undertaken by Regional and Local Planning Authorities. The strengths and weaknesses of this approach are explored, as well as their usefulness in decision making. There are problems relating to baseline, establishing trends and predicting cumulative effects at the strategic level. The issues in assessing cumulative effects within this SA/SEA framework are discussed and recommendations for improvements are made.
[en] The concept of 'Sustainable Communities' is taking an increasingly strong hold in discourses on civil society and sustainability. A basic tenet of the sustainability paradigm is that a community should be empowered to participate in the decision making process on issues that affect the well-being and continual development of the community. Meaningful participation in such a process requires that stakeholders have unrestricted and easy access to all relevant information regarding the issue at hand and that they have an effective means for communicating with one another without the barriers often posed by spatial, temporal, skill and financial constraints. The controversial nature of, and the intense emotion associated with nuclear waste disposal make it especially important that the principles of 'right-to-know' and 'participatory decision making' be upheld for communities engaged in any aspect of, or during any phase of, a site selection process. Whether a community is being considered as a potential host site, located along the route for transport of the waste material, or simply within a general region in which the siting may affect the economic and environmental well-being of the community, they all share, to varying degrees, a common concern: 'how will it affect me, my family, and my community?' Answering this question to the satisfaction of all stakeholders is one of the most challenging tasks in a site selection process. More than three decades of research has clearly demonstrated that addressing this concern goes far beyond simply 'supplying enough information' or even the 'appropriate information'. Experience has shown that no amount of public information programs, education programs, public hearing etc., will satisfy all parties involved. There are at least two major reasons for this: The different values held by people affect how they perceive even fundamental issues such as fairness, justice, morals, ethical behaviour, our relationship with, and obligations to fellow human beings, animals, and the environment. People perceive that information travels essentially one way in the processes and the voices of the community and its members are not heard. Subsequently, they feel excluded from the actual decision making process and even from being able to participate meaningfully in the process. Recent advances in informatics and geomatics technology, such as the Internet, web-based software and geographic information systems (GIS), have made it possible to address these issues more effectively. We believe that the combined features of two software developed at the York Centre for Applied Sustainability can facilitate access to information, provide a virtual forum for discussion and debate, and it possible for individuals to participate in decision making process, and to infer peoples' values from their choice criteria selection
[en] The next generation melter (NOM) development program includes a down selection process to aid in determining the recommended vitrification technology to implement into the WTP at the first melter change-out which is scheduled for 2025. This optioneering study presents a structured value engineering process to establish and assess evaluation criteria that will be incorporated into the down selection process. This process establishes an evaluation framework that will be used progressively throughout the NGM program, and as such this interim report will be updated on a regular basis. The workshop objectives were achieved. In particular: (1) Consensus was reached with stakeholders and technology providers represented at the workshop regarding the need for a decision making process and the application of the D20 process to NGM option evaluation. (2) A framework was established for applying the decision making process to technology development and evaluation between 2010 and 2013. (3) The criteria for the initial evaluation in 2011 were refined and agreed with stakeholders and technology providers. (4) The technology providers have the guidance required to produce data/information to support the next phase of the evaluation process. In some cases it may be necessary to reflect the data/information requirements and overall approach to the evaluation of technology options against specific criteria within updated Statements of Work for 2010-2011. Access to the WTP engineering data has been identified as being very important for option development and evaluation due to the interface issues for the NGM and surrounding plant. WRPS efforts are ongoing to establish precisely data that is required and how to resolve this Issue. It is intended to apply a similarly structured decision making process to the development and evaluation of LAW NGM options.
[en] A framework for a general decision support system (DSS) to be used by Canadian utilities for unit commitment and a short-term generation scheduling system was derived. Information from Canadian utilities, published material, and commercial models was collected and reviewed. The DSS was then formulated and development costs were estimated. The Canadian Electrical Association Utility Models, other available literature and commercial models were reviewed and described. A DSS framework was presented. Problem formulation for the DSS in general was developed. Operational constraints were established. The solution methodologies for each problem were outlined and final solutions described
[en] Aiming at the assistant decision-making system’s bottleneck of processing the operational plan data and information, this paper starts from the analysis of the problem of traditional expression and the technical advantage of ontology, and then it defines the elements of the operational plan ontology model and determines the basis of construction. Later, it builds up a semi-knowledge-level operational plan ontology model. Finally, it probes into the operational plan expression based on the operational plan ontology model and the usage of the application software. Thus, this paper has the theoretical significance and application value in the improvement of interconnection and interoperability of the operational plan among assistant decision-making systems. (paper)
[en] Whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) is an effective treatment in brain metastases and, when combined with local treatments such as surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery, gives the best brain control. Nonetheless, WBRT is often omitted after local treatment due to its potential late neurocognitive effects. Publications on radiation-induced neurotoxicity have used different assessment methods, time to assessment, and definition of impairment, thus making it difficult to accurately assess the rate and magnitude of the neurocognitive decline that can be expected. In this context, and to help therapeutic decision making, we have conducted this literature review, with the aim of providing an average incidence, magnitude and time to occurrence of radio-induced neurocognitive decline. We reviewed all English language published articles on neurocognitive effects of WBRT for newly diagnosed brain metastases or with a preventive goal in adult patients, with any methodology (MMSE, battery of neurcognitive tests) with which baseline status was provided. We concluded that neurocognitive decline is predominant at 4 months, strongly dependant on brain metastases control, partially solved at later time, graded 1 on a SOMA-LENT scale (only 8% of grade 2 and more), insufficiently assessed in long-term survivors, thus justifying all efforts to reduce it through irradiation modulation
[en] Bringing attention to fuel poverty as a distinct manifestation of social inequality has asserted the place of affordable warmth in the profile of contemporary rights and entitlements. As such, fuel poverty can be understood as an expression of injustice, involving the compromised ability to access energy services and thereby to secure a healthful living environment. In this paper, we consider how fuel poverty may be aligned to various alternative concepts of social and environmental justice. Whilst recognising that fuel poverty is fundamentally a complex problem of distributive injustice, we argue that other understandings of injustice are also implicated and play important roles in producing and sustaining inequalities in access to affordable warmth. Addressing fuel poverty has to involve seeking justice in terms of the cultural and political recognition of vulnerable and marginalised social groups and pursuing procedural justice through opening up involvement and influence in decision-making processes. We make this argument both in theoretical terms, and through considering the experience of fuel poverty advocacy and policy development in the UK. Opportunities for future action may be illuminated through such interconnected justice framings as wider awareness of energy, climate and poverty issues emerge. - Highlights: ► We examine fuel poverty through different concepts of social and environmental justice. ► UK experience is used to inform and exemplify our analysis. ► Distributional justice is central but insufficient on its own. ► Procedural justice and justice as recognition are key necessary goals in the struggle for affordable warmth.
[en] The effectiveness of conservation efforts ultimately depends on the recognition that decision making, and the systems that it is designed to affect, are inherently dynamic and characterized by multiple sources of uncertainty. To cope with these challenges, conservation planners are increasingly turning to the tools of decision analysis, especially dynamic optimization methods. Here we provide a general framework for optimal, dynamic conservation and then explore its capacity for coping with various sources and degrees of uncertainty. In broadest terms, the dynamic optimization problem in conservation is choosing among a set of decision options at periodic intervals so as to maximize some conservation objective over the planning horizon. Planners must account for immediate objective returns, as well as the effect of current decisions on future resource conditions and, thus, on future decisions. Undermining the effectiveness of such a planning process are uncertainties concerning extant resource conditions (partial observability), the immediate consequences of decision choices (partial controllability), the outcomes of uncontrolled, environmental drivers (environmental variation), and the processes structuring resource dynamics (structural uncertainty). Where outcomes from these sources of uncertainty can be described in terms of probability distributions, a focus on maximizing the expected objective return, while taking state-specific actions, is an effective mechanism for coping with uncertainty. When such probability distributions are unavailable or deemed unreliable, a focus on maximizing robustness is likely to be the preferred approach. Here the idea is to choose an action (or state-dependent policy) that achieves at least some minimum level of performance regardless of the (uncertain) outcomes. We provide some examples of how the dynamic optimization problem can be framed for problems involving management of habitat for an imperiled species, conservation of a critically endangered population through captive breeding, control of invasive species, construction of biodiversity reserves, design of landscapes to increase habitat connectivity, and resource exploitation. Although these decision making problems and their solutions present significant challenges, we suggest that a systematic and effective approach to dynamic decision making in conservation need not be an onerous undertaking. The requirements are shared with any systematic approach to decision making—a careful consideration of values, actions, and outcomes. (letter)