Governing Municipal Waste: towards a new analytical framework

Co-authored with Harriet Bulkeley and Ray Hudson and Paul Weaver and published in the Journal of Environmental Policy and Practice  in 2005. In this paper, we develop a new conceptual framework for analysing municipal waste policy, based on an understanding of the multiple modes of governing through which policy is constructed and contested.

Journal page (DOI) | cited by..

Bulkeley H, M Watson, R Hudson, P Weaver (2005) ‘Governing Municipal Waste: towards a new analytical framework’, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 7(1): 1-23

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15239080500251700

ABSTRACT Recent years have seen a rapid rise in the political saliency of the ever growing volumes of municipal waste produced in the UK. In this paper, we outline the preliminary findings of a research project that is examining the nature and development of municipal waste policy (MWP) in north-east England. We provide an overview of the changing national, regional and local policy framework for sustainable municipal waste policy, arguing that the European Landfill Directive has had a profound impact on policy priorities and goals at all levels. Nonetheless, commentators and policy makers alike have identified significant ‘barriers’ to progress, including institutional fragmentation, instability and uncertainty, financial constraints, and public participation. While the ‘barriers’ metaphor has served to identify some of the key challenges, we suggest that it offers only a partial view of the issues at hand and can serve to perpetuate an unhelpful division between the ‘technical’ and ‘social’, and between policy making and practice. In this paper, we develop a new conceptual framework for analysing MWP based on an understanding of the multiple modes of governing through which policy is constructed and contested. We argue that this approach is also relevant for other areas of environmental policy and planning which have, to date, only partially engaged with broader debates about the changing nature of the state and governance. Bringing these concerns into the analysis of environmental policy and planning is, we believe, a key challenge for future research.

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Author: Matt Watson

A Human Geographer at the University of Sheffield, interested in how everyday human action and social orders make each other, with implications for sustainability and wellbeing. Currently looking at energy including how to tackle demand for it.

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