Establishing environmental review will help to protect the natural environment in England by ensuring that appropriate standards and processes are followed. To do this effectively will require careful amendment of the Civil Procedure Rules; in the context of interested parties, interveners, costs, and other matters of procedure.
The current arrangements for judicial review are a good starting point in this context and in building on these IEMA have made a number of recommendations to Defra, including:
- There should be adequate provision in the rules for interested parties to have a role in environmental review. However, this provision should not enable environmental review to be brought forward on an issue in circumstances whereby existing judicial review proceedings are already underway or a court decision has already been made.
- There should be appropriate provision and mechanisms in place for interveners to have a role in environmental review. However, this will need to be structured in such a way so as to prevent the circumvention of the role of interveners in the process; given that there is provision in the Environment Bill for the Office for Environmental Protection not to issue public statements of action that it is taking.
- There is scope for the same provision on costs that is applied in judicial review to be replicated in environmental review, so that winning parties are awarded costs. This could help to ensure that the Office for Environmental Protection more effectively considers the merits of pursuing environmental review. It is also likely to act as an incentive for public authorities to get their initial decisions correct.
IEMA’s full submission to the consultation can be found here.
Posted on 13th September 2021
Written by Ben Goodwin
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