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No more delay on environmental tribunal

Jun 11, 2003

The Government should press ahead and set up a new environmental tribunal, the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) urged today.

UKELA welcomes a university led report, commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which is published today.

"UKELA regards this as a vital step towards urgently needed reform of the UK's complex and at times disjointed environmental appeals system” said Andrew Wiseman, chair of UKELA. “It will place the UK in an excellent position to accommodate the anticipated introduction of significant new environmental laws, including in particular the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental justice”.

The report headed by Professor Richard Macrory of University College, London, says the tribunal would deal with environmental appeals including on industrial processes, contaminated land, statutory nuisance, pollution prevention and control, and GMO licensing.

“This tribunal system would be an important first step and could be expanded later to cover planning issues and criminal prosecutions for environmental offences” said Andrew Wiseman. In limiting the jurisdiction for the time being to where change is needed most, the new model enables a clean-up of environmental appeal mechanisms in the UK. “It does so without presenting such an immediate and overwhelming change which has stopped previous 'one stop shop' proposals going ahead”.

The report also discusses the controversial “third party right of appeal”, which would give interested parties other than applicants the right to appeal against environmental decisions. “The report leaves the details on third party rights of appeal very much open for further consideration and UKELA looks forward to being involved in the wider discussion of this issue as the proposal moves forward," said Andrew Wiseman.

Notes to the editors:

Notes to editors
1. 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. Today’s report, “Modernising Environmental Justice” by the Centre for Law and the Environment at University College London, builds on recommendations by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution last year.

Andrew Wiseman: 020 7423 8340 mobile: 07976 258 664
Vicki Elcoate 01306 5012320 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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