By Richard B Macrory, on 11 February 2013
The First-tier (Environment) Tribunal was set up in 2010 to hear appeals against civil sanctions imposed by environment regulators, and in line with the recommendations in Professor Macrory’s Cabinet Office Sanctions Report which led to Part III of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2088. No appeals against civil sanctions have yet been heard by the Tribunal. In 2011 in a report Consistency and Effectiveness – Strengthening the New Environment Tribunal commissioned by the then President of Tribunals, Lord Carnwath, Professor Macrory recommended that a wide range of administrative appeals under environmental legislation, currently scattered amongst many different bodies, should be transferred to the new Tribunal. The Government accepted the general argument in Professor Macrory’s report, and the process of transfer is beginning to happen. The Tribunal has been gaining new powers over 2012 , the latest being appeals concerning greenhouse emission trading which were transferred on January Ist 2013. In February 2013 the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs launched a consultation document, proposing, inter alia, that appeals under Environmental Permitting should be transferred from the Planning Inspectorate to the Tribunal. The Tribunal heard its first appeal in 2012. This concerned a remediation notice under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and a short report by the barristers involved is available on 39 Essex Street Chambers web-site.