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nvironmental law is a term that is used in the UK to include a vast variety of legislation which is, in some way, concerned with the control of environmental damage. Some laws are very narrow and relate to only one issue or activity - such as the Mobile Homes Act 1983. n recent years many older laws have !een consolidated into large, wide ranging Acts. "wo very im#ortant e$am#les are the %nvironmental &rotection Act 199' and the %nvironment Act 199(. "hese re#laced and modified much #revious environmental legislation.

During the last 20 years there has been a greater public awareness ofenvironmental issues%nvironmental law receives more
attention today than in the #ast. )uring the last *' years there has !een a greater #u!lic awareness of environmental issues which have !een !rought to the #u!lic+s attention !y ma,or world events such as the nuclear accident at -herno!yl and various oil tan.er disasters around the world which received massive media coverage. n addition, #ressure grou#s li.e /reen#eace and 0riends of the %arth are constantly forcing environmental issues into the media. 1ithin the %uro#ean Union, environmental legislation is a high #riority and the UK has !een forced to ta.e it seriously through a num!er of %uro#ean Union )irectives. %nvironmental law is found in the national law of the United Kingdom, %uro#ean Union law and i nternational law. 2aws reflect #olicies and #olicies reflect the vision of the government of the day and, to some e$tent, the will of the #eo#le. As a result legislation is always #erceived as !eing wea. !y those who su##ort it. 0or e$am#le, there is little disagreement that #ollution levels from vehicles should !e reduced !ut a law which !anned cars would gain little su##ort3 "here are a wide variety of means availa!le for the enforcement of environmental law. -riminal #rosecution may im#ose a fine or im#risonment. n,unctions or claims for damages may #revent some harm from occurring or com#ensate for in,ury sustained. 2icences or contracts may regulate and set standards. 0or e$am#le, the Environment Agency is res#onsi!le for issuing discharge consents for com#anies wishing to

discharge wastes into rivers. %nforcement Agencies 4such as the %nvironment Agency5 have wide #owers to ins#ect, re#ort and ta.e action over #ollution. 6ovel and #otentially very effective a##roaches to environmental legislation have !een develo#ed recently. "he introduction of ntegrated &ollution -ontrol sets standards for #roducts and #rocesses rather than for discharges or emissions. "he growth of environmental la!elling has assisted in ma.ing consumers aware of the environmental im#acts of the #roducts they !uy. "he use of ta$ation instead of legal sanctions to reduce environmental damage is not new, !ut is finally !eing seriously considered. 0or e$am#le the use of a car!on 4energy5 ta$ to reduce and im#rove the efficiency of fossil fuel use may well !e far more effective than legal sanctions.

7ne #ro!lem which would !e associated with such a measure would !e how to #rotect the #oorest in society from the increased cost of fuel. . "he additional costs are !orne !y a levy on fossil fuel derived electricity under the %lectricity Act 1989. %ncouraging the re#lacement of fossil fuel derived electricity with renewa!les has !een to some e$tent encouraged through the +non-fossil fuel o!ligation+ which o!liges distri!utors of electricity to source some of their #ower from renewa!les. "he #rinci#le that the +#olluter #ays+ is seen as a #reventive measure to encourage waste avoidance and #revent #ollution.