By the 1990s a research base had developed articulating the principles of sustainability, but
there remained a need for work which analysed the implementation process and the
implementability of sustainability in particular policy areas. The Rio UNCED conference
(1992) had articulated concerns that all levels of governance should operationalise the
principles of sustainability into deliverable actions. Whilst critics (e. g. Galtung et al., 1995)
have challenged the legitimacy of these global pronouncements, there was nevertheless an
expectation that Local Agenda 21 (LA21) might facilitate transformational change within
local governance, with local authorities and other key actors engaging in communityorientated
policy making to establish priorities for sustainability.
It is within the context of these considerations that this research formulated three main
to establish the role of LA21 processes in operationalising the principles of sustainability
at the local level in the UK; exploring the interaction between politicians, local
government officers and community representatives.
2) to consider the capacity of the policy area of tourism to operationalise the principles of
sustainability at the local level and thus provide evidence of the wider implementability
of sustainability principles within local government.
3) to scrutinise the potential of the example area of cycle tourism to provide a model for
sustainable tourism at the local level.
Adopting a case study research strategy, three example local authority types were identified
within the LJK sub-region of Humberside. The research project highlighted a spectrum of
corporate responses to sustainability, ranging from non-participation in the LA21 process, to
a 'Centralist' approach driven by a strong political commitment, and thirdly a community
orientated approach with priorities for sustainability evolving within policy communities at
the 'Periphery. Policy 'animateurs' were identified who were committed to the integration
of sustainability principles within initiatives for tourism and cycling.
Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.