Foundation degrees

Course Information

Environmental Law and Policy

Module summary

Module code: ENVI1069
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Pharm, Chemical and Envi Sci.
Module Coordinator(s): Robert Black



Environmental law is a fast changing and rapidly developing area of law, offering its own distinctive methodology and approach to problem solving through a combination of regulatory approaches that include licensing conditions, inspection procedures, the use of courts and different modes of self-regulation. It has, as its main objective, the protection of some aspect of the environment and the effects on people or wildlife. The policies pursued in protecting the environment are also important in understanding the basis of legal rules, and furthermore, understanding environmental policy is essential as an aid to interpreting the application of legal powers and in providing the context for an understanding of environmental problems. Laws and regulations affect us all in our everyday lives, and laws and regulations that affect the environment will be of fundamental importance and of relevance to Master's students of all environmental disciplines.

This course aims to:
• Provide a grounding in the judicial systems of the UK and EU;
• Identify the main actors in the legal regimes of environmental protection, and the main mechanisms of control;
• Provide an explanation of the scientific and economic developments that provide the context for an understanding of the law;
• Provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the development of environmental law & policy at UK, EU and International levels, and its role in protection of the environment;
• Provide a critical analysis of the principles underlying the legal protection of the terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric environments.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

1 Demonstrate the nature and importance of the Common Law, Criminal Law, European Law and International Law as applied to the environment.
2 Express an understanding of policy and decision-making processes at national government and EU level, and an awareness of contemporary environmental policy in the UK, the EU and at international level.
3 Use different sources of law, with critical insight, to assess possible legal actions against individuals and organisations.
4 Appreciate the role of the planning system in environmental protection, particularly in conservation of wildlife and habitats.

Indicative content

Introduction to the Law and the Legal system - UK: Sources of Law, Common Law and Environmental Protection, EC law, International Law. International environmental policy: Development of law and policy, Role of IGOs and NGOs Sustainability and development, Brundtland Report, Earth Summit, Agenda 21 - Rio declaration. EC Environmental Policy: Institutional and policy processes, development of EU Policy, Environmental action Programmes. UK Environmental Policy: - Introduction to Policy Making Process, Applications to Environmental Issues at Local/Central Government Levels, Role of Interest and Pressure Groups.

Planning Legislation and the Planning System: Historical Development. Actors in Planning - Central, Local Government, Regional Institutions. Legislation and Guidance. Town and Country Planning Acts 1990, Planning and Compensation Act 1991. Development Plans, Development Control. Planning and the Environment. Influence of the EC. Environmental Assessment Directive. T &CP (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations. Environmental Protection Legislation: Framework of Pollution and Environmental Protection Legislation, UK and EC. COPA 1974. EPA 1990. Water Resources Act 1991. The Environment Act 1996. EU and International Legislation. Conservation Law – International legislation, EU initiatives, UK legislation: Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 etc.

Teaching and learning activity

The theme of the course is the legal provision existing at international, EU and UK level to provide for conservation of biodiversity and the environment. Lectures supported by desk based case studies will form the basis of most sessions, and seminars and case studies will be used to emphasise the more important material studied. The latter part of the unit has a strong student centred element, where students are exposed to, and will be required to analyse and critically examine, several legal scenarios. Students understanding of the legal issues surrounding real-life conservation issues is tested using a seen examination introduced in the latter few weeks of the teaching calendar.

• Lectures (1, 2, 3, 4).
• Interactive seminars involving discussions, class-exercises and role playing (2, 3, 4).
• Examination (1, 2, 3, 4).
• Coursework (4, 5, 6).


Method of summative assessment: Report
Outcomes assessed: 1,2
Grading Mode (e.g. pass/ fail; %): %
Weighting % :30%
Passmark: 50%
Word Length:1000
Outline Details:Report on formative exercise

Method of summative assessment: Consultancy
Outcomes assessed:2,3,4
Grading Mode (e.g. pass/ fail; %): %
Weighting % :70%
Passmark: 50%
Word Length:1,500-2,000
Outline Details: Advising Clients on a case study. Part 1 presentation (30%). Part 2 final written report (40%).

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning: Presentation of an item of legislation or a legal case.