This study examines how the EU Floods Directive – an extensive and innovative legislative instrument for integrated and participatory flood risk planning in all EU member states – influences local flood risk management in one member state, Sweden. The study identifies that: many municipalities have received new knowledge; cross-sectoral organisational structures for water and flood risk issues at the local level are being formed or strengthened; and the flood risk issue has been elevated up the political agenda. There are also however clear signs that a number of other fundamental issues are not being adequately addressed in the complex institutional setting that results from the directive's implementation. These issues are undoubtedly obstructing the development of a more integrated and participatory flood risk management system. Of key importance here are questions relating to how roles and mandates are communicated and adopted, the lack of coordination between the Floods Directive and the Water Framework Directive, and the inadequate involvement of the municipal level and other stakeholders. Practical recommendations on how to redirect development towards more positive outcomes in these areas are thus formulated.

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