Skills, deals and impartiality: The sale of environmental consultancy skills and public perceptions of scientific neutrality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Voluntary organizations concerned with nature conservation and environmental protection clearly need a source of funding. Many receive governmental support in various ways, but a high degree of reliance on such largesse is felt to compromise their independence. They thus look to other fund-raising ventures, such as sponsored tree-planting and sales of wildlife holidays. Given the high standards of scientific expertise commonly available in these organizations, they are increasingly attracted to selling their skills in the form of consultancy services - to firms, to developers and to local authorities. This strategy is already yielding some financial successes, but it generates a potential problem - that of impartiality, or neutrality. This paper reviews some of the developments made in the direction of environmental consultancy. It goes on to explore, through the use of case-study material from a recent public inquiry, how the issue of neutrality is treated by these groups, by the ‘customers’ to whom they sell services, and by the legal authorities. The paper concludes with a review of the factors affecting the demonstrable impartiality of scientific advice: factors arising both from the nature of scientific knowledge and from the character of the legal process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-453
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1992

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Skills, deals and impartiality: The sale of environmental consultancy skills and public perceptions of scientific neutrality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this