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Reflections on how the implementation of sustainable development goals across the UK and Ireland can influence the mainstreaming of these goals in English planning practice

P.J. Geraghty


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious and voluntary undertaking by governments to implement sustainable  development. Many countries have been pursuing a process of localisation, in which local and regional priorities are rooted in the implementation of the SDGs. The UK’s implementation of SDGs has been hindered by its governance arrangements and the perspective that they are primarily for developing countries. A review of official UK parliamentary reports from 2016 to 2020 and the government’s Voluntary National Review (H.M. Government, 2019) have highlighted a knowledge gap and inconsistency in the implementation of the SDGs. Years of perma-reform in planning, resulting in policy turbulence, have further retarded their adoption in England. Devolution has led to a divergence in planning practice across the UK. The approach outside of England has been much more proactive. This article seeks to bridge this knowledge gap by reflecting on practice in the UK and Ireland and how this might influence the mainstreaming of the SDGs in future planning practice in England.

Keywords: Development, devolution, goals, localisation, planning, reflection, sustainable,  Sustainable Development Goals, UK, Ireland

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eISSN: 2415-0495
print ISSN: 1012-280X