UKELA sets out enforcement options for new environmental law body
Aug 02, 2018
Dr Paul Stookes
UKELA, the independent association of environmental lawyers, has submitted its response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' consultation on establishing environmental principles and a new body to safeguard the environment post-Brexit. Since the consultation started the new provisions of section 16 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 have mapped out what the minimum environmental principles will be and that the new environmental body overseeing Government will have the power to take legal proceedings if necessary. UKELA's response explains the options for an independent court or tribunal to ensure that the new body can pursue the ambition of holding Government and other public bodies to account for significant breaches of environmental law.
Having consulted its members widely, UKELA has set out a number of options to help ensure that there will be a suitable system for environmental law enforcement by the new body. These include expanding the role of the Planning Court, expanding the role of the Environment Tribunal or establishing a specialist environmental court or tribunal that would have a comprehensive jurisdiction for the administrative, civil and criminal enforcement of all environmental law.
Peter Harvey, Chair of UKELA Brexit Task Force Sub-Group stated that:
“We welcome that the Government has recognised this is such an important opportunity to put in place a robust post-Brexit legal framework to protect the environment. It should ensure that there is no serious governance gap when the European Commission is no longer holding our public bodies to account for complying with environmental law. We recommend that the environmental body should have a toolkit of effective enforcement powers, which ultimately includes legal proceedings.
It will be important to have the opportunity to comment on a draft statutory statement, as required by section 16 of the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, alongside the draft Environment Bill to put the use of the statutory environmental principles in context. "
Anne Johnstone, UKELA’s Chair also noted that:
“The consultation paper has raised some very important, but complex, issues and UKELA has drawn upon the expertise of its specialist members to provide what it considers to be a comprehensive and positive response setting out ways for moving forward on environmental law in a positive yet practical way.”
UKELA’s response to the Environmental Principles and Governance consultation is available on its website at www.ukela.org
For more information about UKELA and the consultation response contact:
Dr Paul Stookes
tel. 00 44 (0)7736 911487
UK Environmental Law Association - Better law for the environment
Registered charity 299498; company registered in England number 2133283
Registered office: One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX
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