In simple terms, environmental law is a collective term for a wide range of statutes, regulations and laws that are designed to reduce the negative effects of human activity on the environment.
A good example of environmental law is in construction projects. Whether it’s a new skyscraper or an extension to your house the local environment has to be considered. Someone looking to build a new shop would have to consider the potential damage their new site could cause to the local environment.
You would also have to consider other issues. For example, building a supermarket outside a town is likely to result in more traffic and this in turn would bring about noise, disruption and more potential harm to the local environment. This is why any construction projects should be done in conjunction with local environmental authorities.
It’s not just building that can have a potential threat to the environment – we also need to be careful of how we dispose of items. Asbestos is an example that has very much been in the news recently- the reason is that exposure can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, it has to be disposed of very carefully and it has to be removed properly.
Equally, there are legal issues regarding how companies dispose of other potentially hazardous substances such as toxic waste. It is vital to be compliant not just because it is better for the environment but also because any bad publicity surrounding not properly disposing of any waste materials could be potentially very damaging to your business.
In recent times, this has been a topic of controversy particularly in America where droughts have enforced people to control their water supply while companies have bottled up reserves. High profile companies have looked to save water with methods such as urinals that don’t use water to flush out waste. One of the principles of environmental law is equity- the principle that people should have reasonable access to the same resources.
One of the principles of environmental law is sustainable development. This means that companies take responsibility for how they develop and grow their companies while making sure that they respect the local environment at the same time.
The idea behind this is that people should have access to information and be able to ask questions about companies including what their environmental policies are and how they intend to implement them as well as getting information on how they have achieved this (or not).
If you are concerned about any aspects of environmental law (for example you’re planning on building an extension and want to consult someone for legal advice) contact us today and we will be happy to look over this in more detail for you.