Recentralisation through regionalisation in the implementation of Rural Development Policy in Scotland

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In environmental policy, good governance is pertinent when inclusive decision making is recurrently associated with effective outcomes. This paper explores the European Union's good governance principles and the extent to which these have been adopted in the Rural Development Policy in Scotland. For the programme period 2007-2013 Scotland's Rural Priorities scheme has moved towards decentralisation by introducing regional decision-making committees. This study assesses the impact of this scheme on multi-level stakeholder relationships and the implications on policy outcomes. To do so, the study adopts a mixed method approach, applying a stakeholder mapping technique, to quantify perceptions of influence and interest and triangulate with data from in-depth semi-structured interviews. Results indicate that the attempts to widen decision making has resulted in a number of stakeholders perceiving themselves as less empowered. This analytical approach can provide the baseline against which governance improvements can be measured in the formulation of future policies.

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