A new ERCS briefing responds to the Scottish Government’s Review of the Effectiveness of Environmental Governance, highlighting our deep disappointment with the poor quality of the Report and the unlawful failure to consider the establishment of an environmental court.
The Scottish Government had a legal duty under Section 41 of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 to produce a report and consult on the effectiveness of environmental governance in Scotland.
The report and consultation were required by law to consider whether the law in Scotland on access to justice on environmental matters is effective and sufficient, and whether and, if so, how the establishment of an environmental court could enhance environmental governance arrangements.
The new briefing summarises ERCS’ full consultation response and submission to the NZET committee, highlighting how the Report is superficial in its analysis, narrow in scope, and appears pre-determined in its conclusions.
It also highlights how Ministers failed to discharge their duty under S41 of the Continuity Act to consider ‘whether and, if so, how the establishment of an environmental court could enhance [environmental] governance arrangements’. ERCS’s view has been backed by the opinion of senior counsel John Campbell KC. However, the prohibitive costs of going to court meant that we did not consider it viable to seek judicial review.
We now recommend the establishment of a special committee or working group to properly consider the defects in environmental governance and how to resolve them.
For more information, read the briefing.