A new research project investigating problems with the quality of environmental legislation throughout the UK was opened yesterday for consultation.
The interim report for this project asks if there are any identifiable problems with the quality of UK environmental legislation, focusing on issues of legislative coherence, integration and transparency. Considering the breadth of environmental law, the project focuses on 4 broad topics of environmental legislation.
The project considers the systems and procedures for scrutinising environmental legislation within government, and drafting practices. It also analyses particular issues of legislative quality in relation to environmental law across all UK administrations (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).
The interim report explores avenues for potential reform of any legislative problems that might be found, focusing on the potential role of environmental principles in UK environmental legislation, and on reforming existing drafting practices and models of legislative scrutiny within UK governments and parliaments.
Initial findings indicate a range of areas where environmental legislation is so complex that it is difficult to access, understand and apply. It also highlights examples – such as the Environmental Permitting Regulations in England and Wales – where attempts to make legislative schemes simpler have been generally welcomed.
The report also asks if more radical suggestions – such as setting up an Environmental Law Commission to oversee the quality of new environmental legislation – are good ideas and worthy of further research. Devolution is also considered and further research could be done on how to ensure that environmental law does not become fragemented across the UK.
The current consultation is open to members of UKELA and all UKELA working parties (until mid September). Anyone interested in contributing to the project’s consultation should do so through their UKELA membership or working partyrepresentative.
However we would also welcome input from anyone who is interested in resolving the complexity of environmental law.
Dr Eloise Scotford of Kings College and Begonia Filgueira of Eric Ltd are the coordinators of this project , a joint UKELA/Kings College initiative. Special thanks have to go to all volunteers that helped on this project, particularly UKELA’s vice chair Richard Kimblin and trustee Bridget Marshall.