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Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

6. The European Union and the environment  

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole W. Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes

This chapter provides a brief overview of how the EU shapes UK environmental law and policy. It begins by providing an introductory guide to EU law, outlining the key institutions of the EU, the different sources of EU law, and how EU law is made. The chapter then proceeds to look at the more substantive elements of EU law as they affect environmental protection, starting with the policy and constitutional bases for EU environmental law, and gives a flavour of the scope of EU environmental legislation, before considering the scope for national standards to exceed those set at EU level or to disrupt trade between the Member States. This is followed by a discussion of the challenges faced in making EU environmental law work, and then with some thoughts on the impact of Brexit and how this may shape UK environmental law.

Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

4. Public Law  

This chapter explains the important role that public law, particularly administrative law, plays in environmental law. This role comes about because much of environmental law requires vesting decision-making and regulatory power in the hands of public decision-makers at all levels of government. This chapter begins by providing an overview of the different constituent elements of public law: constitutional law, administrative law, the role of the EU and international law, as well the complexities of this area of law. The chapter then moves on to consider the way in which the different types of interests involved in environmental problems and the need for information and expertise provide challenges for public law. The chapter then provides an overview of four major features of public law that are particularly relevant to environmental lawyers: the Aarhus Convention, accountability mechanisms, judicial review, and human rights.