Planning reform, rescaling, and the construction of the post-political: the case of The Planning Act 2008 and nuclear power consultation in the UK
This paper explores the relationship between ‘post-politics’ and processes of rescaling enacted through planning reform. It centres empirically on the policy shift which has occurred in planning since the inception of the Planning Act 2008 – the new framework which will oversee the development of new nuclear power and other large-scale infrastructural developments in the UK. This act has radically altered the ways in which publics can engage with Government policy. Using interview data gathered from participants in recent nuclear power consultations, as well as participants in the old inquiry-based system of the 1980’s, it is argued that processes of rescaling through the Planning Act have diminished the ‘political opportunities’ available for certain non-governmental actors to intervene in the policy process. This has contributed to the post-politicisation of the planning framework in certain arenas, which raises significant questions concerning public engagement and democratic accountability within the wider context of the modernisation of planning. The potential consequences of these developments are discussed.
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