Our purpose is to increase the capacity and opportunity of individuals, community groups and organisations to challenge environmental injustice at neighbourhood, local authority and national levels.
We advance environmental justice in two ways:
- by working to address the unequal distribution of environmental problems, and promoting everyone’s right to a healthy environment – these are called substantive rights.
- by working for meaningful participation in decision-making and for fair, timely and affordable access to legal action as a last resort – these are called procedural rights.
Advocacy in policy and law reform
The Right to a Healthy Environment
We are advocating for the human right to a healthy environment to be protected in law.
The First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership recommended the incorporation of the right to a healthy environment into Scots law, partly in response to the threats posed by Brexit.
ERCS is participating in the formulation of this right by contributing to the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership. Read our report and case studies by RSPB Scotland on what some of the major environmental problems are in Scotland, and why having a human right to a healthy environment could help to tackle them.
Our advocacy programme includes work to address Scotland’s continuing non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention. We will contribute to the final progress review of the Convention Compliance Committee in autumn 2020, on the persistent issue of the excessive cost of challenging environmental decisions in Scotland, before it reports to the next Meeting of the Parties to the Convention in 2021.
Friends of the Earth Scotland has been campaigning for over 10 years to bring Scotland into compliance with the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, and ERCS aims to add new impetus to its efforts.
Specialist Environmental Court
We are building on long-standing moves to create a specialist environmental court or tribunal in Scotland, designed around the principles of the Aarhus Convention.
ERCS submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of the Scottish Land Court and the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. The consultation proposes the incorporation of the Lands Tribunal into an expanded Land Court. Our response outlines our push for the expanded court to take on additional environmental responsibilities.
ERCS collaborated with Planning Democracy to write a response to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee on temporary modifications to planning regulations. We were concerned that they dilute the principle of public participation in decision-making during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of Scottish Environment LINK we contribute to responses to government consultations. We also collaborate with other LINK members to inform their position on environmental legislation and the legal system.
- ERCS response to to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of the Scottish Land Court and the Lands Tribunal for Scotland – October 2020
- UK Withdrawal from the EU (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill – LINK’s written evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee – August 2020
- National Planning Framework 4 – LINK response to Scottish Government’s call for ideas – April 2020