The Localism Act 2011: What is ‘Local’ and How Do We (Legally) Construct it?

Environmental Law Review (UK), Forthcoming

12 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012

Date Written: March 31st, 2012


The Localism Act 2011 (for England and Wales) is a complex piece of legislation. It addresses a wide range of planning, housing and local government concerns not all of which would conventionally be understood as localist interventions. Ostensibly it implements a political logic of localism, that local decision-making should be prioritised over other scales of governance. However, while the Act makes an explicitly political point, its provisions retain considerable national hegemony over local decision-making, both in what the Act requires and in those provisions and policies that it leaves untouched. It also contains different and overlapping formulations of both what is ‘local’ and who is ‘community’. As a result, while the political logic of localism is presented as unitary, in practice these initiatives are much more fragmented.

Keywords: localism, Localism Act, local, spatial justice, local government, juridification, neighbourhood planning, planning, scale

Suggested Citation

Layard, Antonia, The Localism Act 2011: What is ‘Local’ and How Do We (Legally) Construct it? (March 31st, 2012). Environmental Law Review (UK), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Antonia Layard (Contact Author)

Bristol Law School ( email )

Bristol Law School
Wills Memorial Building
Bristol, BS8 1RJ
United Kingdom

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