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Environmental Law

Environmental Law (9th edn)

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes
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date: 28 September 2023

p. 75320. New technologieslocked

p. 75320. New technologieslocked

  • Stuart Bell, Stuart BellProfessor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of York
  • Donald McGillivray, Donald McGillivrayProfessor of Environmental Law, University of Sussex
  • Ole W. Pedersen, Ole W. PedersenReader in Environmental Law, Newcastle University
  • Emma LeesEmma LeesUniversity Lecturer in Environmental and Property Law, University of Cambridge
  •  and Elen StokesElen StokesProfessorial Research Fellow in Law, University of Birmingham


This chapter introduces some of the issues surrounding law, environmental protection, and new technologies. Using a series of examples—such as geoengineering, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’)—it examines the relationship between environmental law and technological innovation. First, the chapter asks how well the law governs potential environmental risks posed by new technological development. Secondly, it looks at whether and how environmental law, in its regulation of new technologies, takes account of different forms of knowledge and expertise. Thirdly, it gives insights into the ways in which law can be used to incentivize the design and application of ‘green’ technologies. Finally, building on Ch. 11, it considers the potential environmental liabilities arising from new and emerging technological risks.

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