Research and analysis

Understanding public perception of risk: report of an Environment Agency workshop

The workshop aimed to raise awareness about current understanding of how the public perceive risk and the implications for risk communication.


Understanding Public Perception of Risk: Report of an Environment Agency Workshop

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Specific aims of the workshop were to:

  • Examine the key findings from the risk perception literature which explain how and why people respond to risk issues
  • Consider the issue of trust and its impact on the public’s receipt and interpretation of Environment Agency risk communication compared to other sources of information
  • Examine how people make sense of risk issues from a range of media (drawing particularly on most recent research on the social amplification of risk)
  • Consider the critical points in the life-cycle of a risk issue which significantly change the perceptions of risk (also drawing particularly on most recent research on the social amplification of risk)
  • Question how the Environment Agency can analyse media and public responses to a risk/hazard to predict future impacts
  • Consider how the Environment Agency can be more proactive in effectively managing its reputation through communication
  • Debate how the Environment Agency should apply all of this understanding in allocating resources for effective decision making
Published 1 January 2002