ABSTRACT

By almost every measure, the environment is a relatively minor issue on the British political agenda. Political debates in Britain usually centre on foreign policy, defence, social security, home affairs, education, housing, industry and economic policy; rarely do they touch on the environment. The same goes for the literature on British politics; a search through all the standard studies of British politics - and through the recent torrent of studies of Thatcher and Thatcherism - reveals little beyond passing references to the environment. A recent collection of essays on Thatcherism mentions the environment as a postscript to housing, devoting just over three pages out of 355 to the topic.1 Where environmental policy is discussed by politicians and political scientists, it is regularly misunderstood and misdefined. One recent definition is both limited and outdated: "[policy] concerned with the use of land and the regulation of human activities which have an impact on our physical surroundings".2