Show Summary Details
Environmental Law

Environmental Law (9th edn)

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes
Page of

Printed from Oxford Law Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 May 2024

p. 423. Environmental values, principles, and rightslocked

p. 423. Environmental values, principles, and rightslocked

  • 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 focuses on the complexity of environmental problems, which is one of its defining characteristics in the sense that there are often many interconnected, variable elements to the problem. It considers the interaction between values and environmental law, which involves some reflection on differing attitudes to the environment. The chapter examines some of the ways in which these values are translated into environmental principles, such as the goal of sustainable development or the Precautionary Principle; it then goes on to consider the question of whether these principles have legal status in the sense that they create legally enforceable rights and duties. Finally, it considers broader questions of environmental justice and the role of different types of rights in environmental protection.

Updated in this version

Note: An update has been made available on the Online Resource Centre (June 2017).

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription