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Resource crunch challenges to the rule of law over the environment

Jun 22, 2011

Further information
Vicki Elcoate

The challenges for sustainable development in an age of austerity will be in the spotlight at the UKELA conference(1) this weekend (June 24-26).

Speaker and former government adviser, Tom Burke, will tell delegates: “the most significant achievement of the environmental community over the past forty years has been to extend the rule of law over the environmental frontier. The risk posed by the growing resource crunch threatens to destroy the rule of law, not only over the environment, but more generally. If we cannot find a way to extend the rule of law so as to maintain the stability of the climate, we will not be able to maintain the rule of law at all”.

Professor Tim O’Riordan, of the University of East Anglia and formerly a member of the Sustainable Development Commission (abolished in the cuts), will explore the choices he says we need to make in the next decade which could either improve well-being or lead us to a state of “grovelling humanity”. He will say we need: “A landscape covenant for the protection and deployment of ecosystem services such as soil care, flood prevention biodiversity enhancement and carbon storage which can only be offered if neighbouring land owners cooperate across their property boundaries”

Other speakers will highlight the opportunities raised by the Green Investment Bank and the positive environmental outcomes from having a slicker system of regulation, focusing on Australian experience. Delegates will also be given the first indications of a wide-ranging study by UKELA on how environmental laws can meet current challenges.

The conference will also launch UKELA’s YouTube channel which will feature information about environmental law as well as talks and lectures. It will link through to UKELA’s public information website, www.environmentlaw.org.uk which is set to receive 300,000 visits in the next year.

Notes to the editors:
  • Members of the press are welcome to attend the plenary sessions. The programme can be found here: http://www.ukela.org/rte.asp?id=12&task=View&itemid=165
  • The main sponsors of the conference are: 39 Essex Street, LexisNexis, Landmark Information Group, WSP Environment and Energy
  • 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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