The Conditions for Environmentally Intelligent Regional Governance: Reflections from Lower Saxony
The first round of regional planning strategies in England in the 1990s only made tentative attempts to incorporate environmental priorities. More recent work is giving sustainability a higher profile and other factors, including the establishment of more co-ordinated government regional offices in 1994 and of the Environment Agency (with new regional boundaries) in 1996, are also raising questions about the future focus on economic and environmental planning at the regional level. Regional planning in Germany has incorporated environmental considerations to a greater degree and for longer. The paper examines experience in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) in the 1990s, when the Land has been ruled first by a Social Democrat-Green Party coalition and then by the Social Democrats on their own, but with still some environmental emphasis. Particular attention is paid to policies in the energy, water and waste sectors. Although any direct transfer to experience in England is clearly not possible, it is argued that there are implications for possible directions for regional planning. This is the case whether the new British government initiates major changes or whether there is only gradual building on the foundations laid since 1990.
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