Dr Ruth Stevenson

Senior Lecturer

Ruth is an environmental social scientist with 25+ years in consultancy and research in the environment and sustainability field. Ruth specialises in renewable and low carbon energy policy and planning, environmental and social impacts of energy development, community renewables and resilience planning, energy discourses and communication, system change and the promotion of sustainable practices and lifestyles.

Academic Profile

Ruth is an Environmental social scientist specialising in the institutional, social, planning and environmental aspects of sustainability. She spent her early career as a consultant environmental planner, primarily in the renewable energy industry, acting as a Director for the leading, worker owned renewable energy company, Dulas Ltd. Whilst representing the wind energy industry on the planning policy panel for the Welsh Government, she was inspired to initiate her PhD research on the policy making process and its effects on the delivery of ‘sustainable development’. Since then, Ruth’s research has focussed on new governance models, behavioural and systems change required for energy, environmental and social resilience.

Ruth’s combination of experience in public, private and academic environments brings a deep and nuanced understanding of sustainability and resilience issues. She uses her consultancy as a test bed for emerging theoretical understanding and her research and teaching encourages her to be a more reflexive practitioner.


Ruth has managed over 25 Environmental Assessments and planning applications for renewable energy schemes and has carried out research for a variety of European and UK funded projects on the environmental and social impacts of renewable energy developments.  With an emerging focus on resilience she has supported a number of community renewable energy projects through the planning phase.  Ruth also carried out a major piece of research for Cardiff University’s School of Architecture, alongside industry and employers in Wales to identify and deliver new sustainability skills for built environment professionals. This resulted in the writing of a 25 year strategy for sustainability training in Wales.


Ruth’s research focusses on:

  • Environmental and Social Impacts of Energy developments
  • Developing new governance models for energy resilience
  • Systems thinking and resilience
  • Social practices and behaviour change for sustainable lifestyles
  • Discourses and communication


Teaching Activities

  • Module leader SA, SABE, SAP, SEPDM, SFNR, Dissertation
  • Lecturer SA, SABE, SAP, SEPDM, SFNR, Dissertation
  • Seminar and practical studies tutor
  • Thesis supervisor


PhD ‘Power, Rationality and Discourse in Renewable Energy Policy Making in Post-Devolution Wales: A Foucauldian – based Discourse Analysis’ (Funded by ESRC) Aberystwyth University

MSc. Landscape Ecology, Design and Maintenance

BSc. (Hons) Geography

Professional Membership & Other

Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)

Academic referee for Environmental Values, Environmental Management, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, and Energy Policy.

Leader: Gwerin y Coed (Woodcraft Folk) engaging children in sustainability though play

Founding member: Plas Einion Housing Management Company (Co- housing)

Community Energy Fund-Robert Owen Community Banking Fund: Act as one of the panel that managing funds for Community Energy Financing (2014 – present)



Anderson, S & Stevenson, R (2018) Are dispositional mindfulness traits effective in sustaining pro- environmental behaviour? International Conference for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment SDBE 2018 pp 280 -291 September, 12th-14th September 2018, London

Stevenson , R and Howard Coles, J. (2015) Neighbourhood Planning and the Energy Conversation, Town and Country Planning Vol 84 pg 449 – 456

Stevenson, R ((2014) Built Environment Sustainability Training (BEST): A Strategy for Growth, Adaptation & Progression: Cardiff University, School of Architecture

Stevenson R. (2013) Built Environment Sustainability Training: Growth, Adaptation and Progression Retrofit Wales Conference, Sept 2013, Cardiff

Stevenson R (2013) Skills Gap Analysis: Sustainability in Existing Buildings BIFM, Sustainability in Facilities Management, Newport Langstone Hotel 26th April 201Stevenson, R (2009) Discourse, Power and energy conflicts: understanding Welsh renewable energy planning policy Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Vol. 27 no 3 512-526


Stevenson, R (2013) Built Environment Sustainability Training: Skills Needs Analysis for the Existing Build Sector: Asset Skills (for BEST Built Environment Sustainability Training programme led by Cardiff University, School of Architecture)

Stevenson, R. & Richardson, and T. (2003) ‘Policy Integration for Sustainable Development: exploring barriers to renewable energy development in post devolution Wales.’ Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning Vol. 5, March 2003 pg. 95 -118

Stevenson, R. (2003) Institutional challenges of sustainable development: An exploration of renewable energy policy development in Wales. Paper presented to Royal Geographic Society/ Institute of British geographers Conference, London September 4th – 6th 2003

Stevenson, R. (2002) The Rhetoric and Reality of Sustainable Wales: A review of Renewable Energy Policy. Paper presented to Planning Research Conference, University of Dundee, and 8th – 10th April 2002

Stevenson, R (2002) Devolution and the Institutionalisation of Sustainable Development – Paper presented to RESSG postgraduate conference, The University of Gloucestershire 20th February 2002.

Edwards, R., Leaney, V.C, Stevenson, R & Heslop, A (2001) Overcoming barriers to greater active community and local involvement in wind farms in the UK

Stevenson, R. (2000) Realising the Potential for the Protection of the Environment by Developing Small Hydropower paper presented at ALTENER 2000, Toulouse, France, October 2000, & publication XVII/4.1030/2/98.328