LINK Members will know that the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) came into being in January, with a mission to assist members of the public and civil society to understand and exercise their rights in environmental law.
Working with the LINK Legal Strategy Group, the last three months have focused on the nuts and bolts of creating a new charity, agreeing our strategic direction and operational priorities for our four programmes of work:
- public education to increase awareness of legal rights and remedies in environmental matters;
- advice, assistance and representation to improve public participation in environmental decision-making;
- strategic public interest litigation to secure progress on key environmental issues; and
- advocacy in policy and law reform.
We hope to launch our website in the summer along with our Advice Service and useful resources, including ERCS’s first information sheet on ‘Environmental information and how to obtain it’.
Our advocacy programme includes work to address Scotland’s continuing non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. In March, the Compliance Committee to the Convention published their second progress review and concluded that the UK remains non-compliant in relation to the prohibitive expense of access to justice. ERCS will provide a briefing note on the implications for Scotland for the June LINK Bulletin.