An Environmental Rights Centre could play an important role in helping navigate through the complexities of the legal and planning system. By providing low-cost advice and access to lawyers, and taking strategic legal action, a law centre like this could help people and communities across Scotland to exercise their environmental rights more effectively, and push for stronger environmental protections.

That’s why we are working with Scottish Environment LINK to build support for an Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland.

In December 2016 we held a seminar with community, NGO, legal and academic stakeholders to help develop our thinking. The seminar confirmed our sense of strong need for an Environmental Rights Centre and demonstrated broad support for the initiative. 
We have now commissioned a 6-month study to further develop the case.

Our vision is for an Environmental Rights Centre that: 

  • provides a one-stop shop for citizens, communities and NGOs to seek advice and assistance in legal and planning matters relating to the natural environment
  • educates citizens, communities and NGOs about their rights and responsibilities pertaining to environment and how these can be exercised by law 

  • plays a role in campaigning for improved access to justice in environmental matters and full compliance with the Aarhus Convention 

  • seeks to address inequality in experience of litigation and the means to pay for it 

  • has in-house lawyers who can undertake litigation on behalf of citizens, communities and NGOs, 
offers non-legal routes of action, and signposts to external lawyers and experts 

  • identifies and pursues strategic litigation to test and improve environmental law. 

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Mary Church

Mary Church is Head of Campaigns at FoES.

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