Environmental Law

The Law and Regulations

Environmental law is to be found mainly in statute and regulations based on various EU directives but the Courts have delivered a number of important judgments over the years interpreting the various regulations.

Environmental law is a title covering a wide range of issues some of which may not at first glance appear to fall under such a heading but in general relates to issues affecting land, water and air, such as water pollution, land contamination, noxious smells, noise, waste (including fly tipping and packaging), planning, wildlife and planning.  In fact protecting the environment is not new, and can be traced back centuries in this country. Until the 1970’s the law was very fragmented with little synergy between the various statutes.  However, since the UK joined the EU it has implemented a number of environmental directives leading to the current regulatory regime.

The main Acts include: the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Pollution prevention & Control Act 1999; the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Clean Air Act 1993; the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Environment Act 1995.

The main Regulatory bodies in England and Wales enforcing the statutory regulations are the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, and the local authorities.  These bodies are the “Environmental Policemen” and certainly the Environment Agency does not hesitate to prosecute offenders in the criminal courts and sue in the civil courts to recover clean up costs when it considered such actions are justified based on the principal of “the polluter pays”.

For more information visit our services pages below and for initial advice please contact any of our branches.


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