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Unpicking environmental policy integration with tales from waste management

Authors
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Through an exploration of UK municipal waste policy, this paper examines debates on environmental policy integration (EPI) and governance. We argue that this policy arena has been characterised by modes of vertical integration, which have failed to promote the horizontal integration required to move beyond the limits of anachronistic institutional structures and have failed to achieve the paradigm shift needed to make meaningful progress towards sustainability. Through this analysis we develop three critical arguments. First, that the analysis of EPI requires attention to embedded paradigms, structures, and dynamics at all levels of governance, emphasising the importance of incorporating subnational levels of governing to EPI analyses. Second, that both analysis of and arguments for EPI need to engage more fully with broader dynamics of governing and to recognise the coexistence of contradictory processes of integration. Finally, we sound a note of caution in relation to calls for EPI. In the messy, dynamic, and multilevelled reality in which EPI has to be implemented, such calls must recognise both sustainability and policy integration as iterative processes rather than as predetermined blueprints.

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