Can Water and Soil be Leading in Dutch Provincial Policy? Finding the barriers and opportunities in mainstreaming climate adaption in Dutch provincial rural area policy

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The Netherlands is facing urgent challenges concerning its water and soil capacity, leading to a fundamental reassessment of spatial planning strategies. The Dutch government's 'Water en Bodem Sturend' letter provides important guidance on the role of water and soil characteristics in spatial planning. This study examines how several Dutch provinces (Gelderland, Zuid-Holland and Limburg) integrate the 'Water en Bodem Sturend' principles into their rural policy program (Provinciaal Programma Landelijk Gebied), using a climate assessment framework developed by Uittenbroek et al. (2013). The analysis reveals barriers and opportunities in the integration process as suggested by Uittenbroek. While the 'Water en Bodem Sturend' letter has integrative intentions, certain elements are missing. Integration is hindered by current inconsistencies between stakeholders, policy documents and government policies. The lack of a legal framework poses institutional and organisational obstacles, necessitating voluntary stakeholder participation in taking actions. Estimated budgets for the required actions are high due to technical, legal and procedural uncertainties. This study proposes improvements to the framework of Uittenbroek et al. (2013) and draws conclusions on the feasibility of the 'Water en Bodem Sturend' principles within the provincial policy programmes.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen