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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

12. Town and country planning  

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

This chapter discusses the UK system of town and country planning, which plays a central role in environmental law because of its enormous importance in relation to locational issues, as well as in determining how much of any particular activity is allowed in any place and the intensity of such development. However, town and country planning is not only about environmental protection: it has a wider role in organizing economic development. In balancing economic, political, social, and environmental factors to do with development in a democratic context, it ought to be a key mechanism for making development more sustainable. The chapter deals with town and country planning law, rather than the role of planning-type mechanisms in general. The law now requires various plans relating to the environment, such as the national strategies for air and waste, and river basin plans for water quality regulation, while there are also non-statutory plans, such as local transport plans, and informal plans, such as local Environment Agency plans.

Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

5. International law and environmental protection  

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

This chapter describes the development, scope, and application of international environmental law, which has expanded significantly since the late 1960s. The focus is on international treaties relating to environmental protection. The chapter is restricted to discussing public, rather than private, international law—that is, the law between states, rather than the conflict of legal systems. International law has often been regarded as something rather closer to international relations due to the fact that there is no single body with the power to make and enforce law against states, companies, or individuals effectively. In the UK, international law does not necessarily have a direct impact on domestic law or on individuals. Treaties need to be given effect to through national legislation and are concerned with the action of states, not individuals within states—with some notable exceptions, such as the law on war crimes.