Environmental Governance in Europe

Environmental Governance in Europe

A Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instruments

Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel, Anthony R. Zito and Andrew J. Jordan

European governance has witnessed dramatic changes in recent decades. By assessing the use of ‘new’ environmental policy instruments in European Union countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, this timely book analyses whether traditional forms of top-down government have given way to less hierarchical governance instruments, which rely strongly on societal self-steering and/or market forces. The authors provide important new theoretical insights as well as fresh empirical detail on why, and in what form, these instruments are being adopted within and across different levels of governance, along with analysis of the often-overlooked interactions between the instrument types.

Chapter 8: Changing patterns of environmental policy instrument use

Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel, Anthony R. Zito and Andrew J. Jordan

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy, public policy


This chapter examines how NEPIs have developed over time and assesses whether they have supplanted or merely supplemented traditional tools of environmental regulation. Having analysed NEPI usage in Chapters 4–7, it is necessary to briefly assess the main changes in the use of traditional command-and-control regulations before we can definitively evaluate the changing patterns in the use of all policy instruments. First, as Chapter 3 already suggested, traditional regulation has been a fundamental instrument for governing environmental policy since the early 1970s. The interaction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ policy instruments is therefore vital. Second, traditional command-and-control regulation has undergone transformations which change the nature of how society is steered by regulation. This chapter starts with a brief analysis of the adoption and usage patterns of traditional command-and-control environmental regulations in the five contexts. Like the previous NEPI chapters, Chapter 8 starts with the pioneers which first innovated with a significant number of modern-day environmental regulations. It then shifts to a macro-level analysis of the general patterns in NEPIs usage while identifying innovators, followers and laggards. Having assessed the role of regulation, the third section explores the overarching pattern of NEPI usage in the member states and the EU. The fourth section examines the pattern of instrument adoption to see if there are any general sequential patterns in the usage of different types of environ- mental policy instruments in different jurisdictions. Finally, Chapter 8 examines the degree to which policy (instrument) learning and diffusion affect the adoption and usage patterns of ‘old’ and ‘new’ policy instruments.

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