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Environment Law Blog

Questions of environmental justice, the climate crisis, biodiversity and resource management are among the defining issues of our time. The law, litigation and legal process have a fundamental role to play in shaping the debates, policy development and decision-making in these areas. Against that background, FTB's specialist team of environmental lawyers is pleased to be launching the Environmental Law Blog (ELB) in the coming weeks. Blog posts will be posted on a dedicated page on our website, and you can subscribe to be notified of new blog posts here.

ELB seeks to provide insights, updates and commentary on developments in environmental law and policy. From the Environment Bill to climate litigation, from ground-breaking domestic and international cases to developments in environmental policy, ELB will endeavour to cover the issues that matter most for those working in, and affected by, environmental law.

Public Authorities and Environmental Information

This post is an abridged version of a longer article first published in the February 2021 issue of the Journal of Planning and Environmental Law (Public Authorities and Environmental Information [2021] 2 JPL 160).

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Habitats and Species
Retained EU law: Habitats and Species – Calm Before the Storm?

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (“the Conservation Regulations”) (and the equivalent offshore SI) is “retained EU law” under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (“EUWA 2018”) and, more specifically, “EU-derived domestic legislation”.  This post briefly examines what that means, what further changes may be expected and some issues arising.

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Environment Bill
Climate Change Challenge to Roads Strategy Fails

Mr Justice Holgate handed down judgment on 26 July 2021 in the case of R (Transport Action Network Ltd) v Secretary of State for Transport [2021] EWHC 2095 (Admin). The case was a climate change focussed judicial review of the Government’s second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) set under s3 of the Infrastructure Act 2015.  Highways England is to develop and construct the road schemes identified in RIS2.  RIS2 covered 45 road schemes rolled forward from RIS1 and five new schemes, including the Lower Thames Crossing.  

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Retained EU Law
Environmental Law and Retained EU Case Law

Much of the UK’s domestic environmental law is derived from EU law.  This covers strategic environmental assessment, environmental impact assessment and the protection of habitats and species, amongst many other areas.  The domestic regulations covering these areas qualify as retained EU law and now need to be considered and applied in light of the arrangements for dealing with EU exit

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Does the Environment Bill ‘enshrine’ environmental principles in English law?

The Queen’s Speech of December 2019, i.e. that of the second Johnson government, announced a new Environment Bill, which would ‘enshrine in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets’. It was notable modification of the earlier statement about the same Bill made in October 2019 in the Queen’s Speech of the first Johnson government, which had stated that: ‘for the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law’.

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The scrutiny and Advice Functions of the Office for Environmental Protection

The Office for Environmental Protection (“OEP”) is to be a new, independent, statutory body created under the Environment Bill to support environmental protection, improve the natural environment and hold public bodies to account. It is expected that the OEP will begin implementing its non-statutory functions in July.  

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Biodiversity net gain
Net Biodiversity Gain: The Nuts and Bolts (1 of 2)

This is the first of a two-part series on the net biodiversity gain provisions set out in the Environment Bill. They would make it a mandatory condition for most development to achieve a 10% biodiversity net gain in order to proceed.

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Climate Change
Climate Change Bill (Northern Ireland) 2021

On 10 May 2021, after six hours of plenary debates, the Climate Change Bill (Northern Ireland) 2021 (the Bill) passed its second stage, with 58 votes in favour and 29 against. Introduced on 22 March by Clare Bailey MLA, it remains the only attempt by the Assembly to put Northern Ireland’s climate change policy on a statutory footing.

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Climate Change
Environment Bill 2019-21: Conservation Covenants (Part 2 of 2: breach, enforcement, modification/discharge, declarations)

This is Part 2 of our blog posts on Conservation Covenants (“CC”). If you missed it, Part 1 can be found here .

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Statement on entries

While the blog has been set up and run by FTB members, we welcome guest posts on all aspects of environmental law, policy and practice – please contact our editorial team at elb@ftbchambers.co.uk if you are interested in contributing.

All contributors post in their individual capacity and the blog is not intended to convey legal or other professional advice through any of its posts. No warranty is given, nor liability accepted, for any of its contents.