Welcome to ERCS’s first e-bulletin …
Our vision is of a Scotland where every person’s right to live in a healthy environment is fully realised.
To assist members of the public and civil society to understand and exercise their rights in environmental law and to protect the environment through:
- public education
- advice, assistance and representation
- advocacy in policy and law reform
- strategic public interest litigation.
As many of you know, ERCS began in January this year and became a registered charity (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) in July. Shivali (Development Manager) and Ian (Programme Manager) were delighted to have Emilia (Advocacy Officer) and Emma (Administrator) join the team in September.
We have just been awarded £120,000 over three years (2021-2023) from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to contribute to core costs. We have several other funding applications for our advocacy and advice work which we will know the outcome of before the end of the year.
These are some of our programme highlights March – October 2020…
- Environmental information and how to obtain it
- Access to environmental information: the importance of the European framework
- Access to justice on the environment, and whether Scotland is providing it
- Planning to stop climate change in Scotland? (Legal Services Agency conference)
- Community Empowerment & Challenging Greenspace Inequality (Political Ecology Network bi-annual conference)
- Children’s Rights to a Healthy Environment (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
17 telephone assessments & written advice to individuals/groups
- loss of green belt
- overdevelopment in conservation areas
- impact of windfarm constructions
- damage of hill tracks on the landscape
- avoidance of Environmental Impact Assessments
- breaches of planning control
- permitted development rights
- statutory planning appeals
- habitats regulations
- protecting ancient woodlands.
Advice to 4 environmental NGOs & activist groups
- repeat planning applications
- planning applications for commercial peat extraction
- criminal liability for climate protest actions
- the dilution of public participation in environmental decisions following temporary modifications to planning regulations.
Advocacy in policy and law reform
Objectives & activities
- Ensure that the human right to a healthy environment is included in Scots Law in the new Parliament
- We provided feedback to the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and a paper on the case for a substantive right to be codified.
- Advocate for Scotland’s full compliance with the Aarhus Convention & for a specialist environmental court
- We contributed to the Scottish response to the UK’s 2020 progress report to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee.
- We also submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of the Scottish Land Court, which outlines the case for a specialist court with additional responsibilities.
Given Covid-19 restrictions, we have decided to postpone ERCS’ official media and parliamentary launch from January 2021 to after the Scottish Parliament elections. This will hopefully allow for a larger face-to-face event and will coincide with the publication of our revised Business Plan with our advice and advocacy strategy moving forward.
What can you do?
We are still looking for a permanent treasurer – can you help?
Do you want to have your say on an environmental rights issue? Then contact us about writing a blog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a supporter and we will let you know when we start recruiting members to support our work in the New Year.