The role of map-based environmental information in supporting integration between river basin planning and spatial planning
Smith, H.M., G. Wall, and K.L. Blackstock, 2013: “The role of map-based environmental information in supporting integration between river basin planning and spatial planning.” Environmental Science and Policy, v. 30, pp. 81-89, doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.07.018.
Numerous drivers are encouraging greater integration between spatial planning systems and the river basin planning systems associated with the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). However, there is often limited understanding of how this might be accomplished in practical terms. This paper presents one facet of a wider project that examined the emerging relationship between river basin planning and spatial planning in Scotland. The results presented here show that there is considerable emphasis on developing map-based tools to communicate complex environmental information (related to the ecological status of water bodies) as a means of securing integration between the two policy regimes. However, these tools are also helping to shape how the wider policy discourse of integration is understood and put into practice in this context. Specifically, the reliance on such tools may serve to downplay the need for broader discussion and dialogue. This paper does not argue that map-based tools should be disregarded, but rather that their use should be situated within (and not used to replace) a meaningful discursive context. Otherwise, they may help to obscure the fundamental tensions and tradeoffs that are inherent in the governance of the land–water interface.