Integrating economic development and the environment: future prospects for local areas
An important rationale for this book has been the need to explore in some depth the potential to integrate economic development and environmental policies at the level of local areas. It was initially argued that much of both the academic and policy literature views ‘the local’ as a key site where positive action can be taken to implement such integrative policies. Debate over the most effective course to take, problems of implementation and the contested nature of sustainability remain important of course, but there is a substantial consensus of opinion that local scale policy and measures are of key importance. While sympathetic to this argument, it was felt that this position needed to be justified and subjected to critical examination, rather than simply taken for granted. To this end, while the focus of the book has similarly been upon ‘the local’, it has also been explicitly argued that local level actions are not enough in themselves and that they must be contextualised both nationally and internationally.