Journal Article

Mapping a Developing Governance Space: Managing Drought in the UK

Bettina Lange and Christina Cook

in Current Legal Problems

Volume 68, issue 1, pages 229-266
Published in print January 2015 | ISSN: 0070-1998
Published online September 2015 | e-ISSN: 2044-8422 | DOI:

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Climate change is associated with severe weather events also in the UK, such as alternating periods of flooding and drought. This article discusses how this increasingly important environmental challenge can be regulated. Current key regulatory tools for preventing and managing drought are drought planning, drought orders and permits, as well as the revocation and modification of abstraction licences. The article develops the metaphor of a governance space in order to understand how environmental science and economics knowledge practices inform the mobilization of these key regulatory tools. This builds on literature about the regulatory space metaphor, and further advances it by conceiving of law and information, two key resources for institutional actors in a governance space, as mediated by discourses. The article develops this argument by, first, reviewing in the introductory sections key provisions of European Union (EU) and English law in relation to regulatory tools for preventing water shortages and managing drought. It further develops this analysis in the subsequent section by examining what environmental science and economics knowledges are generated when particular regulatory tools for preventing or managing drought are applied. In the following main section the article then critically reviews literature about the regulatory space metaphor. It identifies a positivist understanding of information and law as a limitation of some of this literature. By building on contributions to this literature that adopt a discourse perspective, it suggests that law and information should be understood as discursively mediated. Building and maintaining reputations for effective drought management is one example of a discourse that mediates linked legal and information resources for drought management.

Journal Article.  15690 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law ; Law and Society ; Politics and Law

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