Privileged actors in environmental policymaking: the historical development of the aviation industry in the UK

Roffey, Lauren (2012) Privileged actors in environmental policymaking: the historical development of the aviation industry in the UK. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Through a theoretically informed examination of two cases fundamental to the growth of the aviation industry in the UK, this thesis aims to illuminate the mechanisms behind the industry’s oft-claimed position of privilege in environmental policymaking. It is claimed that historically the aviation industry has occupied such a position, manifest in tax breaks for fuel, delayed entry into the emissions trading scheme and continuing ability to secure permission for new airport development, all in the face of fierce opposition. However, the existing literature fails to adequately empiricise or explain the precise mechanisms behind its alleged position of privilege.
This thesis focuses on the role of the UK state in arbitrating between rival interests in the historical development of the aviation industry in the UK. Two case studies are explored: the development of the third London airport at Stansted, and a new runway at Manchester. The former was characterised by delays and reviews, becoming a cause célèbre; the latter occurred more rapidly. Archival analysis and elite interviewing uncover fresh details of the two cases. Two contrasting theories of policy are employed to understand and explain the industry’s role: the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) (which maintains that policy change arises primarily from an open competition between policy coalitions in adjusting to external events) and the Strategic-Relational Approach (SRA) (that acknowledges the importance of structural imperatives on the state to consistently privilege some actors over others).
This research finds that both the ACF and SRA offer convincing accounts of the policymaking process, however, singularly, neither is able fully to explore all the mechanisms that underpin the industry’s privileged position. By paying close attention to the beliefs of actors, the ACF uncovers the mechanisms behind how and why actors work together to achieve their policy goals and draws attention to the important role played by external events and policy learning play in creating policy change. Complementing these insights, the SRA draws attention to the strategies actors use to achieve their policy goals and explores the structural factors that continuously privilege the aviation industry. In initiating the first theoretical dialogue between these two contrasting perspectives, this research has found that there is no need for theoretical synthesis in a quest to find the ‘best’ single theory, rather, that combining their insights to in a complementary manner offers the most valuable exploration of policy and the policymaking process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 11:58
Last Modified: 02 May 2013 11:58


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