Policy and Law for Environmental Protection

Module summary

Module code: LAW1237
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Robert Black



The aims of this course are to:

• provide a grounding in the judicial systems of the UK, British Commonwealth, EU and other countries;
• 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 successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1 appreciate the nature and importance of the law (Common Law, statute law, etc.), as applied to the environment as applied in different jurisdictions;

2 express an understanding of policy and decision-making processes at national government and EU level, and how these are reflected in law, with emphasis on pollution control, planning and environmental conservation;

3 critically assess the legal arguments offered in defence of current case law;

4 analyse and synthesise different sources of law, with critical insight, to assess possible legal actions against individuals and organisations arising from a fictitious case scenario

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 in UK and EU, 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 Impact Assessment Directive

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 through coursework on legal instruments or case reports from their own jurisdictions and on giving advice.

An important activity is a visit to the Palace of Westminster for a guided tour of Parliament and a seminar at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment:Presentation
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 1,2, 3, 4
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 50%
Pass Mark 40%
Word Length n/a
Outline Details: Advising clients on legal issues arising from a case study scenario as 'work in progress'.

Method of SUMMATIVE assessment: Formal written report
Outcomes assessed:1,2,3,4
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting % : 50%
Passmark: 40%
Word Length:1,000-1,200 words
Outline Details:Written report advising clients.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
5 minute presentation to explain legal terms or concepts