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"Environmental Governance and the Dispersal of Decision-making"

Fairbrass, Jenny. (2003) "Environmental Governance and the Dispersal of Decision-making". In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, Tennessee. (Unpublished)

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      Currently the European Union (EU) consists of fifteen member states that exhibit an array of political and constitutional systems, ranging from unitary to the fully federal. Among the EU member states, the United Kingdom (UK) has traditionally been regarded as an example par excellence of a unitary state. However, since taking office in the late 1990s, Labour Governments have pursued a programme of constitutional reform. This has included the decentralisation of decision-making powers through a process of devolution to bodies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions. One policy area that has been devolved as part of this process is environment policy. However, it could be argued that even before the formal 1998 Acts of devolution that environmental policy was already highly decentralised. Crucially though, one policy area that has been ‘reserved’ to the UK Executive in Whitehall and the Parliament in Westminster is international relations and EU matters, and UK environmental policy is one policy area that is deeply affected by EU level policy making. These circumstances, therefore, raise some important questions about British environmental governance, which this paper seeks to address. Is devolution likely to mark a significant break from the past in the UK or a continuation of existing patterns of policy making? What are the likely or potential implications of devolving environmental policy, whilst at the same time reserving EU relations to London (Whitehall and Westminster)? Does devolution actually represent a further dispersal of environmental decision making in the UK and the EU? In reflecting on these issues, this paper draws on theories and concepts derived from governance and historical institutionalist literature.

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      Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
      Uncontrolled Keywords: Devolution in UK; historical institutionalism.
      Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > U.K.
      EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > environmental policy (including international arena)
      Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
      EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
      EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
      Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2003 (8th), March 27-29, 2003
      Depositing User: Jenny Fairbrass
      Official EU Document: No
      Language: English
      Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2003
      Page Range: p. 22
      Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:15

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