Policy instrument choice and diffuse source pollution

Neil Gunningham, Darren Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


In summary, planning processes can be effective in reducing diffuse pollution, by taking advantage of catchment-wide insights about environmental hot spots such as nutrient sensitive areas and, through mechanisms such as state or regional plans or local zoning requirements, restricting the range of acceptable activities in those areas. This will not only be effective in prohibiting or restricting activities that contribute disproportionately to diffuse pollution, it will also likely be cost-effective in doing so, since it is only environmentally sensitive areas that will be targeted and only high risk activities within them. It is, nevertheless, a strategy of limited value given that in many areas, activities are already taking place that are environmentally inappropriate and the planning system, with its prospective nature, provides no mechanism for dealing with them. One considerable attraction of the Nitrates Directive is that is applies to existing as well as future uses, and for this reason, has a considerably broader reach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-81
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Environmental Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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