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



• 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
• provide an understanding of the law and legal skills that are essential for professional involvement in environmental affairs, whether employed by government or as an environmental consultant or advisor in the private or voluntary sector

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module 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.