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Developing a circular economy at the regional scale: a case study of stakeholders in North Humberside, England and Styria, Austria

Newsholme, Aodhan


Aodhan Newsholme


Rupert Baumgartner

Julia Affolderbach


Resource security, environmental and other economic benefits which may stem from a circular economy are attracting significant interest from policymakers and other stakeholders at the regional scale. Previous research in the related area of industrial symbiosis suggests that the region is likely to be an important scale for fostering collaborative resource efficiency initiatives. Public agencies are promoting industrial symbiosis activity as part of circular economy plans with a view to capture economic benefits for their locality. Existing research into this has taken a partial approach, focusing on the regional scale with limited attention to either larger scales of governance or the scale of operation of companies. There has been limited attention to considering how potentially conflicting interests of place-based authorities and firms might impact on the ability of a place to attract and retain benefits from circular economy activity. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the spatial distribution of potential benefits from a circular economy by assessing the potential for a given place to benefit. This thesis critically analyses the interplay between firms and local agencies, in order to understand the influences on transitioning to a circular economy within a particular locality. This research explores how the expectations of companies compare to visions of public agencies in terms of circular economy development, with a particular focus on the local region. I explore findings of empirical research focusing on both North Humberside (England) and Styria (Austria) on developing a circular economy in medium sized industrial regions. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with policymakers across various scales and businesses located in the region of North Humberside and Styria to explore CE initiatives from multiple stakeholder perspectives. The interviews were complemented by other methods including discourse analysis, observations and a survey, primarily focussing on organisations located in North Humberside. Both regions appear to be on a transition to cleaner forms of production, as illustrated by the ‘Energy Estuary’ in North Humberside and the ‘Green Tech Valley’ in Styria. Findings further suggest there are divergent views on developing circular economy activities between local stakeholders. Local policy sees the circular economy as a way to improve the economic and environmental performance of the region. Conversely, business seek to foster circular economy initiatives between value chain partners, who tend to be globally distributed. This is likely to raise operational challenges for developing regional level circular economy collaborations.


Newsholme, A. (2023). Developing a circular economy at the regional scale: a case study of stakeholders in North Humberside, England and Styria, Austria. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date Apr 1, 2023
Deposit Date May 9, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 9, 2023
Keywords Environmental sciences ; Human geography
Public URL
Additional Information School of Environmental Sciences, The University of Hull


Thesis (2.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2023 Aodhan Newsholme. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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