Quality Control for Environmental Policy Appraisal Tools: An Empirical Investigation of Relations Between Quality, Quality Control and Effectiveness
The spectre of regulatory reform carried out in a range of Western countries has generated concern amongst parts of the environmental policy community. Quality and effectiveness are said to be at stake, but empirically there is a dearth of data on the relationship between provisions for quality control and the effects on quality and effectiveness. This research addresses this lacuna by analysing the effects of different quality control provisions in the Netherlands and Denmark for a globally institutionalized environmental appraisal tool—Environmental Assessment (EA). Extensive technical provisions for quality control in the Netherlands have led to it being described as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of EA systems, while in Denmark the polity is expected to take charge of quality control. The effects of quality control are investigated through surveys and in-depth interviews with actors centrally engaged with EA implementation. The results show that quality control provisions are poorly related to the perceived quality and effectiveness of EA. Only the appropriateness of the scope of EA reports is perceived to be strongly related to quality control provisions. The findings are relevant for environmental policy communities concerned with quality control systems and effectiveness of policy appraisal tools and policy-makers contemplating regulatory reforms.