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What is local about local environmental governance? Observations from the local biodiversity action planning process

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In line with the tenets of sustainable development, environmental policy has privileged action at the local level. This paper explores how the local has been manifested in practice, drawing upon an extensive qualitative study of biodiversity action planning in Birmingham, UK, undertaken between 1999 and 2002. Analysis highlights the embedded and geographically uneven character of the process, and a number of local path dependencies are identified that act to both constrain and enable the process. It is concluded that environmental policy tends to accept the positive rhetoric of local action rather uncritically. In practice, the local is manifested in a number of different ways, with highly heterogeneous effects.

Keywords: UK; biodiversity action planning; local environmental governance; path dependency

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2004


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