Devolution and the modernization of local government: Prospects for spatial planning

“In England, by contrast, the new relationships between local government and central government appear more complex, not least as a result of the emerging picture of governance being brought about by regionalization. This leaves the future structure and powers of spatial planning within English local government more uncertain at the present time.”

The creation of devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, coupled with the proposals for the English regions are creating new operational environments for local government in different parts of the UK. This paper reviews both the key factors affecting these new environments and their relationship with local government. The paper assesses the factors influencing the context for change, and considers these comparatively within England, Scotland and Wales. Attention is focused on emerging forms and practices of spatial planning within the devolved countries at the local level, caused by sub-national, local and community institutional change.

Spatial planning is utilized as an example of the changing nature of central–local government relationships within the UK. The article concludes that there is evidence of convergent and divergent trends occurring at different speeds within the three countries and that the new local government relationships in Scotland and Wales may be more defined as a direct consequence of devolution.

Published in European Planning Studies | P. Allmendinger | 2005,,