Recent national and international environmental policy initiatives have placed considerable emphasis upon the local level as the most appropriate site for policy intervention. For example, policy statements on the implementation and delivery of sustainable development such as the United Nations Agenda 21 Programme (through Local Agenda 21), and the European Union’s Fifth Environmental Action Programme ‘Towards Sustainability’, place particular stress upon the local scale for policy implementation. In the United States, local-level approaches to balancing habitat conservation and development have recently been endorsed by the federal government, including the State of California’s Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) initiative which promises to protect valuable ecosystems in Southern California from further destruction by urban development. On an international scale, then, there is a discernible move towards local solutions to seemingly intractable conflicts between environmental protection and economic development.