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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Implementing the Water Framework Directive and Tackling Diffuse Pollution from Agriculture: Lessons from England and Scotland

Air Quality Management Resource Centre, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Department of Sociology, Umeå University, 90187 Stockholm, Sweden
Institute for Futures Studies, 10131 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Sociology, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
Department of Politics, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(1), 244; (registering DOI)
Received: 11 September 2019 / Revised: 20 December 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
Tackling diffuse pollution from agriculture is a key challenge for governments seeking to implement the European Union’s Water Framework Directive (WFD). In the research literature, how best to integrate and align effective measures for tackling diffuse pollution, within the context of the EU’s multilevel governance structure, remains an open question. This paper focuses on the first and second implementation cycles of the WFD to explore how national governance arrangements either facilitated or hindered the adoption of effective policies, especially with regards to the delivery of agricultural and water policies on the ground. It draws on data collected through systematic document analysis and interviews with key experts, policymakers and interest groups, and presents a comparative analysis of two case studies: England and Scotland. The case studies show that Scotland’s joined-up governance structure, which enabled policymakers and interest groups to work together and to build trust and cooperation, facilitated the adoption of stricter measures for tackling diffuse pollution. In contrast, in England institutional fragmentation prevented a meaningful engagement of all parties and acted as a barrier. The analysis unpacks the design of policy mixes and the conditions that allow national governments to pursue more holistic and integrated governance approaches to overcome opposition from interest groups and gain their support. View Full-Text
Keywords: public policy; governance; WFD; Scotland; England public policy; governance; WFD; Scotland; England
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De Vito, L.; Fairbrother, M.; Russel, D. Implementing the Water Framework Directive and Tackling Diffuse Pollution from Agriculture: Lessons from England and Scotland. Water 2020, 12, 244.

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