Multiple case studies in light of the Environment and Planning Act

Through this research the aim is to understands the needs and the role of the spatial planners in regard to changing external safety policy. Within this research, through a case study research design and qualitative methods, an analysis is executed of the possible knowledge gap between external safety and spatial planners. This is done by defining external safety and the role of the spatial planner and how this may be changed in light of the Environment and Planning Act. Through these cases, qualitative generalizations are made through the lens of the policy arrangement approach, because of the focus on law and policy. Throughout the four cases, the four main components of the policy arrangement approach have been used in order to analyze and structure the data. The focus of this research is on spatial planners, however, according to the data most (generalist) planners are not involved with external safety, which is left with environmental experts within their municipality or with the environmental service or safety region. About the role of the spatial planner can be said that in the case of generalist planners, the roles are broad and divergent. The specialized planners are much more focused on one or few spatial themes, such as legal aspects or environmental aspects of the spatial planning field. In light of the Environment and Planning Act, these roles seem to shift. Due to the environmental table (in Dutch: omgevingstafel) and the focus on collaboration and integral processes, spatial planners are going to be part of deliberations with much more actors, providing them with broader insights on more themes (also including health for example).