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Cover Environmental Law

9. Public participation  

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

This chapter deals with public participation in environmental law and policy. Over recent years, there have been significant moves towards increasing both the quantity and quality of public participation in many different areas of environmental decision-making. The exact nature of public participation can take many forms, but the chapter concentrates on access to information on the environment and public participation in environmental decision-making. It also looks at some of the reasons for giving greater access to environmental information; the types of environmental information that are available; the use of environmental information as a regulatory instrument; international and European initiatives; and past, present, and future approaches to access to environmental information in the UK.

Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

13. Environmental assessment  

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

This chapter looks at the international, European, and national laws relating to environmental assessment, and the explosion of litigation that has occurred over the years. Environmental assessment has emerged as one of the key environmental law mechanisms. Its essence is that information about likely environmental impacts of things such as development projects, and now also plans and programmes, is properly considered before potentially harmful decisions are made. It can be useful to think about environmental assessment in the context of some wider issues of environmental decision-making. Another basic issue addressed here is one that frequently crops up in environmental assessment law; namely, the tension between adhering strictly to procedural rules and adopting a pragmatic approach to decisions that are considered sensible.

Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

2. Understanding Environmental Problems  

This chapter is an introduction to environmental problems specifically written for those studying environmental law. Understanding environmental problems is not just of passing academic interest, but is, rather, essential for understanding environmental law. A good environmental lawyer has a sophisticated appreciation of environmental problems and understands in particular how their nature impacts on environmental law and practice. The extracts in the chapter are thus not just optional background reading but are essential for understanding the subject. This chapter covers the collective nature of environmental problems, the role and limits of knowledge in identifying and addressing environmental problems, the nature of environmental values and the important but contentious role of the state in environmental decision-making.