New study: Natural Capital Accounting

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 13 June 2014

Working in partnership with the Global Legislators Organisation, GLOBE International, UCL has published a major review of national laws and policies in 21 countries concerning natural capital accounting. The study featured contributions from 56 individuals, including parliamentarians, government officials, external consultants, and subject matter experts from UCL.

The study was officially launched on 7 June 2014 at the 2nd World Summit of Legislators, hosted by the Mexican Congress of the Union in Mexico City. More than 500 presidents, speakers and senior legislators from around the world attended the Summit. One of the study’s lead authors Dr Ben Milligan highlighted the study’s objectives and key conclusions in an address to the Summit’s plenary session.

Read the rest of this entry »

Study on Environmental Appeals

By Rob Amos, on 15 May 2014

Professor Richard Macrory has conducted a study of 57 appeals decided by the Planning Inspectorate over the past three years. The study was carried out at the end of last year when DEFRA was considering transferring environmental permitting appeals from the Inspectorate to the First Tier Environment Tribunal in line with the Macrory Report: Consistency and Effectiveness – see here for the initial consultation proposals.

The purpose of the study was to see what sorts of issues were likely to arise in practice to help focus recruitment priorities in the Tribunal.

In the event the Government has recently decided not to transfer for the time being, mainly on the grounds of the current Tribunal charges imposed on Departments as compared with the Planning Inspectorate, see here.

Read the rest of this entry »

UCL-KCL Postgraduate Environmental Law Symposium

By Rob Amos, on 6 May 2014

Created with Nokia Smart CamOn Thursday 1st May the UCL-KCL Postgraduate Environmental Law Symposium was held. It was organised by three postgraduate students: Emily Barritt (KCL), Kim Bouwer (UCL) and Larissa Boratti (UCL), and this year was hosted by KCL. The day gave postgraduate students and researchers from both the UK and abroad the opportunity to meet and share ideas with their peers. Support for the day was provided by KCL’s Dickson Poon School of Law, UCL’s Faculty of Laws, the Centre for Law and the Environment and the Institute of Sustainable Resources.

The presentations covered a number of contemporary issues in environmental law and policy under the headings of Environmental Governance, International Environmental Law, Sustainable Resources, Climate Change and Energy, Rights and Participation and EU Environmental Law. The range of topics covered illustrated the points made by Professor Maria Lee from UCL in her introduction to the symposium: environmental law is an inherently pluralistic discipline and its boundaries cannot be comprehensively defined.

See here for summaries of the presentations given during the day: UCL-KCL Conference 2014 – Programme.

Public Interest Environmental Law (PIEL) UK 8th Annual Conference 2014

By Rob Amos, on 29 April 2014

NKN_5269eOn Friday 11 April 2014, the Public Interest Environmental Law (PIEL) UK 8th Annual Conference was held at Cass Business School, City University London. This year’s event was organised by a committee of environmental law students from UCL, SOAS, City University London and Birkbeck, and drew around 150 attendees including academics, practitioners, NGO representatives and students. It was also generously supported by UCL, City University London, LSE, Hausfeld & Co LLP, Green Dragons, and Friends of the Earth.

With the overarching theme as “Corporations’ Role in the Environmental Crisis: Problem or Solution?” the day was crammed full of enthusiasm from our Chair, Professor William Howarth (Kent Law School), speakers and attendees to engage with the question and its many facets.

Read the rest of this entry »

New book on EU environmental law

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 14 April 2014

BookImageCentre member Maria Lee has published EU Environmental Law, Governance and Decision-Making with Hart Publishing.

A vast and diverse body of EU law addresses an enormous range of environmental matters. This book examines a number of areas of substantive EU environmental law, focusing on the striking preoccupation of EU environmental law with the structure of decision-making. It highlights the observation that environmental protection and environmental decision-making depend intimately both on detailed, specialised information about the physical state of the world, and on political judgments about values and priorities. It also explores the elaborate mechanisms that attempt to bring these distinctive decision-making resources into EU environmental law in areas including industrial pollution, chemicals regulation, environmental assessment and climate change.

Offshore carbon dioxide storage in the UK

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 13 April 2014

Ben Milligan’s paper, entitled ‘Planning for offshore CO2 storage: Law and policy in the United Kingdom’ is now available online in Volume 48 of Marine Policy.

‘Offshore CO2 storage’ refers to the injection of liquefied CO2 into deep geological formations beneath the seabed (e.g. depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and saline aquifers) for the purpose of storing it there on a permanent basis. The storage in this manner of captured CO2 emissions from industrial installations and power plants has attracted considerable scientific and technical interest as a potential mitigation response to climate change. A key issue facing policymakers in several countries is how to reconcile policy commitments to develop offshore CO2 storage with other competing – and potentially conflicting – uses of the marine environment. With a view to informing policy responses to this issue, Ben’s paper presents a case study of legal and policy frameworks concerning offshore CO2 storage in United Kingdom. The paper maps key design features of the United Kingdom׳s framework for marine permitting and planning, appraising the extent to which they enable orderly development of offshore CO2 storage in a manner consistent with relevant high-level policy objectives.

Jonathan Robinson Appointed Visiting Professor

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 9 April 2014


Jonathan Robinson, currently Director of resources and Legal Services at the Environment Agency, England and Wales, has been appointed a Visiting Professor to the Faculty.

 Jonathan was a senior lawyer at the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, before taking up the position of Chief Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand. He was subsequently appointed Chief Legal Adviser to the Department of Communities and Local Government before taking up his present position with the Environment Agency in 2009.

On learning of the appointment, Jonathan said, “I’m have always greatly enjoyed my discussions with the high calibre students and academic staff and researchers at UCL, and am delighted and hugely honoured to be made a Visiting Professor.  I look forward to working more closely with UCL over the coming years”

Richard Macrory, co-director for the Centre for Law and the Environment, commented, “We are all absolutely delighted at the prospect of closer collaboration with Jonathan – he is someone with  enormous experience of environmental law and the machinery of government, and his appojntment comes at a period in the development of thinking about  environmental regulation and environmental regulators.”

 Jonathan’s CV

KCL and UCL CCS Conference Report

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 25 March 2014

CCS Conferene Cover ImageOn the 6th of March 2014, King’s College, in collaboration with UCL, organised a conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) (see our previous post for more details and a short summary of the event). The Conference Report, including the day’s programme and a list of delegates, is now available and can be downloaded from the following link: CCS Conference Report (KCL & UCL). For copies of speakers’ presentations and more information on events at King’s College in general, please click here.

Supreme Court on nuisance and planning

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 19 March 2014

The Supreme Court handed down an important decision on the relationship between private nuisance and planning permission on 26 February, citing publications by a member of the UCL Centre for Law and the Environment.

In broad terms, the tort of nuisance addresses the reasonable use and enjoyment of land. The paradigm private nuisance is perhaps a case of noise or smells from industrial or commercial activities, although a nuisance can also take the form of physical harm to property or encroachment on the claimant’s land (for example by tree roots). Many of the activities challenged in private nuisance have been granted planning permission, raising profound practical and constitutional questions about the relationship between the regulatory state and the courts. Read the rest of this entry »

A successful conference on CCS – 6 March 2014, London

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 11 March 2014

KCLresizedOn the 6th of March 2014, King’s College, in collaboration with UCL, organised a conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), held in Senate House (London).

With contributions from government, industry and academia, discussions were lively, informed,  and encouraged  a sense of urgency to get CCS on track. Speakers included the Government Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Walport, Dan Byles MP, Prof. Stuart Haszeldine of University of Edinburgh, Ward Goldthorpe (Crown Estate) , David Kennedy (Climate Change Committee) Ashley Ibbett (Department of Energy and Climate Change), Ian Havercroft (Global Carbon Capture Storage Institute) and many others. Read the rest of this entry »