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    UCL Centre for Law and the Environment, Briefing 2015-16

    By Tatjana I N Wingender, on 20 October 2016

    UCL’s Centre for Law and Environment was established to provide a focal point for the Faculty’s outstanding expertise and academic strength in the field of the environment and the law. The main goals of the Centre are to advance research and teaching and explore the role of law in meeting contemporary environmental and energy challenges. Have a look at what we’ve been doing over the past year and download our Briefing document.

    UCL Energy and Development Group

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 14 September 2016

    GroupPhoto20Jun2016In 2015, a number of UCL academics working on energy access challenges in the global South began meeting informally to discuss common research interests.  Now a team of about 16 from the UCL Energy Institute, Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE), Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR), Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), Development Planning Unit (DPU), Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Centre for Law and Environment, and other departments are meeting regularly as the “UCL Energy and Development Group”. The group is working together to build both a community of practice and to access research funds.  The team is already working on a research paper, has established a wide view of the relevant capability and capacity across UCL, and has served as a hub which has enabled several responses to large consultancy opportunities with valuable research and impact outcomes. The coordinator for the group is Dr Long-Seng To, Research Fellow at STEaPP (second from the left in the photo). Please contact her or Centre for Law and Environment member Ben Milligan to learn more or to join.

    Annual Lecture 2016

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 30 August 2016

    Offshore wind turbines

    Local Publics and Offshore Wind Farms: constructing evidence in nationally significant infrastructure planning

    Tuesday 11 October 2016, 18:00 – 19:00

    Speaker: Professor Yvonne Rydin (UCL Barlett School of Planning)
    Chair: Professor Maria Lee (UCL Laws)

    About the lecture:

    The regulation of offshore wind farms and other major renewable energy infrastructure provides an opportunity to examine the processes put in place by the Planning Act 2008. There has been little research on the operation of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) regime to date and an ESRC-funded project (Rydin, Lee, Lock and Natarajan No. 164522) is currently filling this gap. The project focuses particularly on how local publics are involved and their representations constructed – or not – as evidence. In this lecture, research on the NSIPs regime, based on detailed reading of extensive documentation, supplemented with on-going interviews, focus groups and attendance at hearings, will be used to show how science and technology studies (STS) offers insights into how the voice of local publics is constructed, the way that knowledge claims are recognised as evidence, and the role that material artefacts play in the hearings and deliberations.

    About the speaker:

    Yvonne Rydin has been at UCL since 2006. Before that she was at the LSE in the Department of Geography and Environment for 16 years. Prior to that she taught at the University of East London (Departments of Applied Economics and Land Mangement) and De Montfort University (School of Land and Building Studies). Yvonne has a BA in Land Economy (with Economics Part 1) and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning Studies. She is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and an accredited Mediator.

    Register your place:

    Research on Environmental Compliance

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 July 2016

    Richard Macrory has been expert adviser and written the guest editorial for the latest thematic issue of the European Commission’special-issue-thematics Science for Environmental Policy series. Issue 56 (July 2016) entitled Environmental Compliance Assurance and Combatting Environmental Crime summarizes fourteen recently  published research papers from across the world, and covers such topics as the value of emerging networks of enforcement bodies, opportunities for exploiting new technologies to assist detection of regulatory breaches , the use of appropriate sanctions and the added value of a compliance assurance conceptual framework. The work for this issue was coordinated by the Science Communication Unit of the University of the West of England.  For a full copy of the Issue see the Science for Environmental Policy web-site.



    Paris Agreement on Climate Change – Its Legal Implications

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 21 June 2016

    logoProfessor Macrory was key note speaker at a meeting organized in Brussels by the European Environmental Advisory Councils on 17 June to discuss the legal implications of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The EEAC is a grouping of official environmental advisory bodies across the EU, and includes the UK Climate Change Committee.

    Although the Paris agreement has been characterized as a commitment of effort by parties rather than  Kyoto style legally binding emission reductions , Professor Macrory’s analysis  demonstrated there were many legal obligations encased in the agreement. He went on to argue that the ambitious overall goals of the agreement were likely to influence the development of climate change law and litigation at national level.

    Professor Macrory’s power point :  Macrory Paris agreement




    Reflective Learning

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 10 June 2016

    CNV00007Last term  Professor Jane Holder and LLB Environmental Law students attended a two-day study retreat at the Sustainability Centre, Hampshire. The outdoor learning environment encouraged reflection on valuing nature and measuring loss, together with their legal mediation. Former students now working in a range of professional settings contributed to the event.

    ​Avosetta Meeting on EU Environmental Law

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 1 June 2016

    IMG_0105Academics specialists in EU and national environmental law met at the end of May in Riga, Latvia for the annual meeting of the Avosetta group of lawyers.  Professor Macrory was one of the founding members of Avosetta when it was launched in 2001, and attended the Riga meeting.
    This year’s meeting was focussed on national procedures for authorising major installations and infrastructure, set in the context of EU environmental law.  Papers also considered the extent to which Member States had introduced procedures to speed up decision-making. This was set against the context of the EU Commission’s current regulatory reform programme including REFIT and the Make It Work, an initiative of some Members States designed to improve the effectiveness of EU environmental law.
    Papers presented at the meeting, which include national updates of significant recent legislation and case-law, will soon be available on the Avosetta web-site together with general lessons and conclusions which will be sent to the European Commission.

    Partnership with the Environmental Law Foundation

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 1 June 2016

    ELF LOGO Professor Jane Holder has been leading our partnership with the Environmental Law Foundation established last year.  The ELF/UCL Clinic has been set up allowing the introduction of an environmental  legal practice element into the LLB programme and bringing UCL Laws  into a national network of ELF clinics located in universities.  This provides the opportunity to share expertise and best practice in clinical legal education, as well as identifying patterns of environmental injustice.

    As outputs from the partnership and clinic, this year’s LLB environmental law students have:BATTERSEA PARK

    • – researched EU environmental assessment law to support a cross-NGO complaint to the European Commission about the non-implementation of national regulations relating to farmland biodiversity.
    • – embarked on advice work for users of Battersea Park in relation to decision making about planned Formula E racing events.  The areas of law include environmental assessment and Aarhus participation rights.

    LLM Students Hold Climate Change Conference

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 20 April 2016

    c5c7b637-fead-43c4-bc9b-bdb82fe12557PIEL UK held its 10th Annual Conference on 15 April : “Climate Talks After Paris: Beyond the Pledges.” Students, academics and legal practitioners attended the all day event which was organized by LLM environmental law students at London universities including UCL.

    The aim was to critically assess the future of climate negotiations and its impact on the international legal sector. The conference opened with keynote speaker Kirsty Schneeberger, who participated in the Paris negotiations as former advisor to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary. Other speakers and panellists included participants in the Paris negotiations and leading specialists in international climate law.

    Professor Richard Macrory was moderator of one of the sessions, and Ned Westaway, Hon Research Associate and a founding member of PIEL provided the closing speech. Ashley Overhouse from PIEL has provided a Detailed Account.

    First Civil Financial Penalty Served by the Environment Agency

    By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 February 2016

    imgresThe Environment Agency has just publicized details of the first variable civil penalty served on an organization for an environmental offence. Civil penalties were part of range of new sanctions recommended by Professor Macrory in his 2006 Cabinet Office Sanctions Review, and contained in Part III Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.
    A penalty of £63,958 plus costs was imposed on Cumbria County Council last August after chlorine leaked out of one of its swimming pools and killed more than 400 fish in a local river, according to the Environment Agency’s  latest list of civil sanctions, published on 19 February 2016.

    Professor Macrory commented, “I am delighted to see another significant step in the practical implementation of a modern and flexible sanctions systems. In this case the incident was serious enough to warrant an imposed sanction rather than accept an agreed undertaking but not a full criminal prosecution. The Agency now has a flexible range of sanctions powers appropriate to the situation in hand.”