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Scale as an 'active progenitor' in the metamorphosis of the waste management hierarchy in member states: the case of the Republic of Ireland

Boyle, Mark (2003) Scale as an 'active progenitor' in the metamorphosis of the waste management hierarchy in member states: the case of the Republic of Ireland. European Planning Studies, 11 (4). pp. 481-502. ISSN 0965-4313

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Abstract

In the light of the raft of legislation introduced by the European Commission since the late 1980s, waste management planning in the European Union (EU) is currently undergoing tumultuous restructuring. At the heart of this restructuring is the requirement by member states to formulate waste management plans that embrace the Commission's central concept of the waste management hierarchy. This article begins with the assertion that the grounding of the waste management hierarchy in different European countries reflects members' ongoing difficulties balancing supra-national environmental regulations with the imperatives of national accumulation strategies. Central to negotiating this tightrope has been a tremendous transformation, modification, re-jigging and re-calibration of the hierarchies of waste management planning institutions in member states. The core argument advanced in this article is that far from being a neutral or technical or practical side show, contemporary (re)scalings of waste management planning in Europe must be approached as being centrally implicated in the constitution of forms of environmental controls that serve rather than burden the interests of leading capitals. This argument is illustrated through a detailed case study of recent scalar inventions in waste management planning in the Republic of Ireland.