This article investigates how acceptable standards of local environmental quality can be understood and
measured. Following discussion of the research questions and methodology, a first substantive section
of the article examines these issues in a conceptual mode, drawing from the literature, and exploring in
particular the nature of standards, environmental quality and the conceptual dilemmas associated with the
use of standards to measure quality. In the next section, the results from the empirical stages of the research
are presented. The conclusions outline a new approach to the measurement of local environmental quality
suggested by the research findings and which addresses head-on the conceptual dilemmas. An argument
is made that for measurement to be of value, it needs to be explicitly local and contextual as well as
reflective of a holistic local environmental quality agenda and of any national aspirations and standards.
Wherever it is attempted, this will be a difficult balance to strike. The proposals attempt to show how it
could be done in one particular context, England.