SOEE1450 Environmental Politics and Policy

Reading List

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

  • - How have environmental concerns been reflected in political debates?
  • - How have bodies like the UN or the EU, or countries like the US or the UK intervened to protect the environment?
  • - What is the role of environmental agencies in delivering policies, and how influential have they been?

This course will introduce the key issues that define the nature and influence of different forms of environmental politics and policy. It will introduce the key historical stages in the evolution of environmental politics and policy, focusing particularly on the influence of environmental groups. It will then examine the factors that shape the 'life cycle' of environmental policy from political struggles, political decision making, policy design, policy implementation and policy impacts.
The course will conclude with an assessment of contemporary developments and future directions in environmental politics and policy.
This module is taught in semester 2 through lectures and seminars and is assessed by an essay.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • 1. understand the political nature of many environmental problems
  • 2. articulate links between politics, policy and the environment
  • 3. demonstrate familiarity with the origins and evolution of different forms of environmental policy
  • 4. evaluate the significance of the institutional context within which environmental policies are formulated and implemented
  • 5. understand the significance of the different stages of the environmental policy process
  • 6. understand the factors that shape the ability of different actors to exert influence within the different stages of the environmental policy process
  • 7. use different criteria to evaluate the performance of different forms of environmental policy
  • 8. critically analyse the key features of various cases and trends in contemporary environmental policy
  • 9. access, understand and critically evaluate academic research papers
  • 10. demonstrate improved written communication skills
  • 11. demonstrate increased confidence in participating in group discussions and public speaking.


This module wil:

  • - introduce the history, evolution, origins and influence of environmental policy;
  • - examine the different arenas where policies are introduced from the global (ie United Nations), the European (ie European Union), the national (ie UK) and the local (ie city-level) scales;
  • - examine the power of different political groups and NGOs, and the significance of different inputs into the policy process;
  • - also evaluate the nature and influence of different environmental policy instruments and the impacts that implementing agencies (ie the Environment Agency) have on the practical aspects of policy;
  • - conclude by examining the new roles for markets (ie investors, consumers) and civic actors (ie NGOs, the public) in the policy process.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching


Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Essay 2,000 word essay 100
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 100

Private Study

  • - 2 hours reading / lecture/seminar (40 hours)
  • - Preparation for assignment (40 hours).

Progress Monitoring

  • - Formative feedback provided during seminars from week 1 onwards.
  • - Summative feedback on written assignment due in week 9 and returned in week 11.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Lecture 10 1 10
Seminar 10 1 10
Private Study Hours 80
Total Contact Hours 20
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 100

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