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Delivering sustainable drainage systems through the English planning system: A proposed case of institutional void

Vilcan, Tudorel and Potter, Karen (2020). Delivering sustainable drainage systems through the English planning system: A proposed case of institutional void. Journal of Flood Risk Management (Early Access).

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Following a series of flood events, the major flooding of 2007 finally triggered legislative change through the Flood and Water Management Act of 2010 and proposed the introduction of Schedule 3 (S3), to provide a stronger regulatory system for the implementation of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). However, S3 has been abandoned in England in favour of implementing SuDS through a “strengthened” planning system. By taking a broader governance perspective, this article explores the limited uptake of SuDS through the strengthened planning system. We argue that the so‐called strengthening of the planning system creates an institutional void: a lack of policy clarity that occurs when the role of the state is scaled back and other actors take up governance roles. While institutional voids can create successful outcomes, in the case of SuDS implementation they have been sub‐optimal. We trace the cause of these outcomes to the unwillingness of the Government to engage in designing policy. This creates a lack of consistency and uniformity, as the implementation of SuDS becomes a matter of ad hoc negotiations and power relations between local authorities and developers. We conclude that the current policy has reduced potential to deliver better outcomes and highlight the options for increased SuDS uptake going forward.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2020 The Authors
ISSN: 1753-318X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetEP/P004180/1EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
Urban Flood and Water Resilience in an Uncertain FutureEP/P004210/1EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
Keywords: governance and institutions; institutional void; Schedule 3; spatial planning; surface water; sustainable drainage systems
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Item ID: 69205
SWORD Depositor: Jisc Publications-Router
Depositing User: Jisc Publications-Router
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2020 16:54
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2020 21:44
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