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Title: Environmental policy appraisal in UK central government : a political analysis
Author: Russel, Duncan John.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2005
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Environmental policy integration (EPI) is a strategy that aims to help institutionalise sustainable development. It seeks to overcome the sectoral tendencies inherent within government to address the environment across its constituent parts. The main tool of the UK's EPI strategy is the ex-ante application of environmental policy appraisal (EPA). Critics maintain that EPA is weakly implemented across Whitehall. However, the empirical base for these claims is limited. Therefore, this thesis employs theories and methods of political science, organisational analysis, public administration, public policy and economics to examine empirically the implementation of EPA in UK central government. Elite interviews and detailed documentary analysis are used to complete four tasks. First, the general patterns of EPA usage are mapped. Next, three in-depth case studies are presented. Then, the factors discouraging EPA, and by implication EPI, are discussed using public policy making theories of bureau-shaping, bureau-culture and policy networks. Finally, suggestions are offered to improve the cross-departmental uptake of EPA. This thesis arrives at four main findings. First, the implementation of EPA in UK central government is limited and sectorized, with departments each having separate systems and guidance to facilitate EPA production. Between 1997 and 2003 only 62 EPAs appeared to have been published. None of these fulfilled specified best practice criteria and the majority were ex-post justifications of pre-determined policy. Secondly, the underlying factors hindering EPA's cross-governmental implementation are two-fold: difficulties associated with the rational and quantitative manner in which appraisal is advocated within official guidance; and sectorization associated with endemic departmentalism. Thirdly, the weak implementation of EPA means that the whole of the UK's EPI strategy is breaking down as few policy spillovers relating to the environment are being uncovered. Consequently, this thesis concludes that the success of the UK's EPI strategy depends on two key factors: how well policy makers are stimulated to build their capacity to appraise for environmental impacts; and the willingness of the Prime Minister and other central actors in government to provide sustained leadership in order to override the sectoral tendencies of Whitehall.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available