Our purpose is to increase the capacity and opportunity of individuals, community groups and organisations to promote environmental justice at neighbourhood, local authority and national levels.
Environmental justice is about ensuring a fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. It acknowledges that marginalised groups and communities are more exposed to environmental burdens (such as pollution, proximity to landfill and the impacts of climate change); and have less access to environmental benefits (such as access to good quality greenspace).
It also recognises that these groups are least responsible for contributing to environmental damage on local and global scales. Yet, they have less resources and opportunities to challenge harmful practices and protect the environment now, and for future generations.
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.
- by working for meaningful participation in decision-making and for fair, equitable, timely and affordable access to legal action as a last resort.
To assist members of the public and civil society to understand and exercise their rights in environmental law and to protect the environment. We will do this through:
- 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
- advocacy in policy and law reform to improve environmental law and access to justice on the environment
- strategic public interest litigation to enforce progress on key environmental issues and tackle systemic environmental problems.
Environmental law includes law relating to land-use planning, climate change, pollution control, environmental health, the conservation of biodiversity, and any other field (e.g. cultural heritage, transport and energy) to the extent that it impacts on the natural environment.
Our values and principles are to be:
- open, accessible and approachable in how we offer our services
- respectful, collaborative and enabling in how we deliver our services
- evidence-based and assertive in how we advocate for policy and law reform
- trusted and authoritative in how we pursue environmental rights and litigation.
Find out more about why we need an Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland and our history.