The incorporation of sustainable development within land use development planning : examining constraint and facilitation in the English planning system
This thesis explores the extent to which the arrangements of the English land use planning system have influenced attempts to incorporate the concerns of sustainable development. This is achieved through an examination of both the procedural and communicative aspects of development plan preparation. The research inquiry is defined by an assumption that the existing statutory requirements and institutional form of development planning may both constrain and facilitate the requisite incorporation. Sustainable development is a very broad notion with both consensual and conflictual aspects, characteristics which render an examination of its assimilation into any sector of governance problematic. The tendency within the planning literature has been to concentrate upon specific criteria relating to sustainable resource management or implementational capacity. This thesis argues that such an approach is inappropriate at this early stage in the notion's assimilation. The essential issue in terms of management and implementation is the extent to which environmental resources are re-evaluated under the auspices of sustainable development - without such a foundational underpinning research in the field is open to become an arbitrary activity. With a line of inquiry founded upon `sustainable re-evaluation' the research reveals, through survey and case study work, that present arrangements within formal development planning are predominantly constrictive. The planning system has undoubtedly come to include reference to sustainable development within its decision making but in a detached, partial and criteria driven manner. The thesis concludes that the crucial need to sustainably re-evaluate our environment, as the integral root of policy and proposal formulation, is being deflected or partitioned off from playing a foundational mediatory role. More tellingly, communicative and procedural activity is smothering the motivation of actors and stakeholders to take on the necessary re-evaluation. In theory opportunities do exist but current practices, agendas and vested interests deny them their potential.