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Don’t delay on environmental tribunal

Sep 18, 2003

Environmental law experts have written to the Lord Chancellor and Ministers in the Westminster Parliament and National Assembly for Wales, urging them to set up a new environmental tribunal.

They say the tribunal would be a vital step towards urgently needed reform of the UK’s complex environmental appeals system.

“Failure to go ahead with this proposal will lead to more public confusion and environmental protection which is increasingly difficult to deliver”, said Andrew Wiseman, chairman of the UK Environmental Law Association(1).

“Once implemented, the new environmental tribunal would place the UK in an excellent position to accommodate the introduction of significant new environmental laws, especially from the EC, and international commitments to give the public better access to environmental justice”.

The tribunal was recommended in a government sponsored report led by Professor Richard Macrory of University College, London, in June(2). A government response to the recommendation is still awaited.

“The government will not face huge new costs in setting this up as most of the work is already being dealt with by other bodies”, said Andrew Wiseman. “Streamlining the system is in fact likely to save money in the long run and make considering cases on issues like contaminated land or nuisance more effective, which is better for everyone - businesses, local residents regulators and decision makers".

Notes to the editors:

1. UKELA is the UK forum, which aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. UKELA’s members are involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law in the UK and the European Union. It attracts both lawyers and non lawyers and has a broad membership.
2. The June report, “Modernising Environmental Justice” by the Centre for Law and the Environment at University College London, built on recommendations by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution last year.

Andrew Wiseman: 020 7423 8340 mobile: 07976 258 664;
Vicki Elcoate 01306 501320 mobile: 07715361844

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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