This post is by Carol Day, legal consultant to the RSPB and public interest law firm Leigh Day and Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth.
On Monday, the Judicial Review and Courts Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons. Coincidentally, Monday is also when the seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention opens. This UN convention, to which the UK is party, seeks to ensure that civil society has rights pivotal to the effective functioning of democracy, including access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters.
This post is by Elizabeth Gardiner, chief executive of Protect.
As Belinda Gordon reported in her recent blog, the largest criminal investigation ever conducted by the Environment Agency led to Southern Water being fined a record £90 million for 51 pollution offences over a five year period (2010-15). What was striking was that these events were with corporate knowledge. This wasn’t accidental leaks or damage to sewage pumps, this was premeditated environmental damage. Yet, as with so many disaster stories whether in the public or private sector, someone, somewhere inside the organisation knew something was wrong, but were not heard.
This post is by Georgina Holmes-Skelton, head of government affairs at the National Trust.
The environmental principles set out in EU treaties and law were the bedrock of the UK’s legal framework for protecting the environment while it was a member of the EU. Now we need to decide what our own version of these crucial legal foundations will look like in UK domestic law. This presents a challenge to ensure that the protections we have are not undermined or diminished, but also a rare and crucial opportunity.
This post is by Tom Burke, chairman and founding director of E3G and former director of Green Alliance (1982-91).
Fifty years ago, extending the rule of law over the then wild frontier of the British environment was the main challenge facing environmental campaigners. Post-Brexit, the challenge we now face is protecting the rule of EU environmental law from populist politicians.
This post is by Tom West, ClientEarth’s law and policy advisor.
A major lesson from ClientEarth’s air quality challenges is that we cannot always rely on the government’s promises to meet its legal obligations.
It wasn’t that long ago that the UK was known as the ‘dirty man of Europe’ for causing acid rain across the continent, dumping sewage straight into the sea and failing to control pollution from large power stations, cars and industry.
No 10’s former energy and environment adviser, Stephen Heidari-Robinson, suggested on Inside Track that ClientEarth’s legal action against the government would obstruct progress on air pollution. This response is by James Thornton, CEO of ClientEarth.
Why do governments get taken to court?
My view, as an environmental lawyer dedicated to the public interest, is simple enough. Legal action ensures that governments comply with the law and act in the best interests of the environment, the country and its citizens. Read more