This website presents the Environmental Competency Groups method that enables scientists and local residents to re-examine local environmental problems together. Here you find case studies of ECGs with extracts from meeting transcripts, photos, video clips and more.

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What are Environmental Competency Groups?

ECGs is a method for collaborative investigation that enable local residents and environmental scientists to work together in order to understand and approach local environmental problems in new ways. 

Why use Environmental Competency Groups?

In ECGs everybody’s knowledge is taken seriously, scientists and local residents learn from each other and together. This makes the knowledge created useful for people who want to take practical action.

Could you use Environmental Competency Group?

Whether ECGs is the best way for you to work depends on several things. You can use the checklist (in the orange box to the right) to see if it looks suitable for your needs.


ECGs explained

Professor Sarah J. Whatmore explains Environmental Competency Groups.

Flood risk management

The impact of the local Ryedale Flood Research Group on flood risk management in Pickering.


Pickering flooding

The first ECG was staged in Pickering, North Yorkshire. The environmental problem was recurring flooding from the river. The relationship between local people and the Environment Agency was tense. The controversy about flood risk reduction made Pickering the perfect site for staging an ECG by the research project ‘Understanding Environmental Knowledge Controversies’. The Pickering ECG […]

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New ECG in Marlborough

NEW ECG! A new ECG was organised in 2015/16 within the framework of the MaRIUS project. This group focussed on drought and potential impacts on water management in the River Kennet. Videos and transcript excerpts from the River Kennet ECG will soon be posted on this webiste.

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The River Kennet ECG

Operating within the framework of the MaRIUS project we were looking for a place where people could be interested in working with us on issues associated with drought. We settled on the River Kennet in Wiltshire. We knew that the upper Kennet had been badly affected by the 2012 drought. In the past there had […]

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Pickering today

It took several years but today the flood protection measures originating in the Pickering ECG are in place, here is a short video of the final bund when just finished. Local media covered the official opening of the flood defence system by environment secretary Elizabeth Truss on the 23rd of October. Detailed information about ‘Slowing […]

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Flood risk

Managing flood risk? How is flood risk normally managed in the UK? Who is responsible for what? How do decision makers know what the risks are? Whose knowledge matters? This UK Government webpage provides information from government bodies about flooding.  This is another UK Government webpage that explains the organisation of responsiblity for flood risk […]

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Drought and water scarcity

Drought and water scarcity in the UK? Is drought and water scarcity really problems in the UK? What is the difference between the two? It is widely known that the South East of England is a region with very limited water resources, but overall the understanding of drought and water scarcity in the UK is […]

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Local co-management

Catchment management is becoming a preferred way to manage rivers in the UK. What does this mean for decision making? Who are involved? What knowledge does good catchment managment need? Here is the national policy framework outlining the catchment approach. Ofwat is interested in the role of catchment management for water supply. How local communities […]

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ECGs publications

Here is a list of academic publications based on Environmental Competency Groups, chronologically ordered with most recent work first. ………………………………………….. Landström, C. (2017) Transdisciplinary Environmental Research: A Practical Approach. London: Palgrave MacMillan. ………………………………………….. Landström, C. and Whatmore, S. J. (2014) ‘Virtually expert: Modes of environmental computer simulation modeling’, Science in Context 27/4: 579-603. ………………………………………….. Donaldson, […]

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