Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2011Peer reviewed

A clear case of 'doublespeak': the Swedish governmental SEA implementation discourse

Hilding-Rydevik T, Akerskog A


Discourse serves as a fundamental prerequisite for human action - as is displayed by the implementation in Swedish local spatial planning of the EU 'Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive' which forms the focus of this paper. The national Swedish SEA policy discourse, following from the EU Directive, presents a clear case of 'doublespeak'. The major mobilising metaphor emerging from the discourse analysis is the concept of efficiency backed by the pronouncement of continuity. Major benefits for local spatial planning are outlined while at the same time assurance is given that no new efforts or added costs are foreseen for the municipalities. The role of the SEA is downsized in relation to sustainable development and to the Environmental Impact Assessment of projects. In order to fully interrogate this debate the current paper combines a policy implementation approach with a discourse perspective.


Strategic Environmental Assessment; EU Directive; discourse; planning practice; Sweden

Published in

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
2011, Volume: 54, number: 4, article number: PII 936123770

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG14 Life below water

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)