Securing Access to Environmental Justice
The greatest challenge of the 21st century is combining economic progress with social and environmental justice. Disputes relating to inequalities in environmental protection and over developments that have negative impacts upon communities represent the real difficulty of achieving sustainable development in the current legal and policy context. The Scottish Government’s consultation on Developments in Environmental Justice in Scotland has gone someway to covering these issues with recommendations due by late 2016. However, campaigners are clear that more needs to be done to make Scotland compliant with environmental justice legislation and to secure access to justice for all of Scotland's people and their environments.
Event run in partnership with
Join us on Tuesday 4th of October 2016 for an up to date briefing on the latest policy developments surrounding environmental justice issues and to examine how your organisation can better meet the challenge of empowering communities and reducing inequalities in the context of environmental disputes. Understand the relationship between environmental justice issues and other major policy areas including energy, planning and the built environment. Examine the legal barriers to securing access to justice, and the potential role of a specialist environmental court in Scotland.
Key Learning Outcomes:
Examine policy and practice surrounding the following timely questions:
- How will the Scottish government secure environmental justice for citizens?
- What role will legal professionals, courts, planning authorities and communities play in future environmental justice legislation?
- What are the current roadblocks to environmental justice in Scotland?
- Should a specialist environmental court be established in Scotland?
- What can your organisation do to empower communities to access environmental justice?
- The expensive litigation process: how can public bodies navigate the complex legal arena surrounding environmental justice?
09:00 Registration and refreshments
09:45 Welcome and introduction from the co-Chairperson
Professor Elizabeth Bomberg, University of Edinburgh
Session 1: Introduction to environmental justice
09:50 What is environmental justice?
- The importance of defining the concept
- Linking concept, policy and practice
Professor Kevin Dunion, School of Law, University of Dundee
10:10 Community understandings of environmental justice
- How are environmental costs socially-distributed
- How do communities understand and respond to environmental justice issues
Dr Eurig Scandrett, Lecturer in Sociology, Queen Margaret University
10:30 Environmental justice from a legal perspective
- What is problematic in the government's consultation on environmental justice?
- Why the current approach is too narrow in scope
Kenneth Ross, Convener of Environmental Law Committee, The Law Society of Scotland
10:50 Questions & Discussion
11:10 Refreshments and networking
Session 2: Access to justice: is a new approach needed?
11:30 Access to justice: Scotland and the Aarhus Convention
- Looking at Scotland’s compliance with the EU Aarhus Convention
- Do we have sufficient means for securing access to justice?
Mary Church, Convener of Legal Group, Scottish Environment LINK
11:50 Protective expenses orders: a case study
- Why PEOs are central to environmental protection
- A case study of Stronelairg wind development
Helen McDade, Head of Policy, John Muir Trust
12:10 Keynote: Specialist environmental courts
- How could a specialist environmental court help to resolve environmental justice disputes?
- What form would this court take?
Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw Bt QC, Faculty of Advocates
12:30 Questions and Discussion
12:50 Lunch and networking
13:50 Welcome back from co-Chairperson
Sarah Boyack, former Labour MSP, spokesperson for environmental justice
Session 3: Environmental Justice in the public sector
13:55 Panel Discussion - Introductions
In this panel session, we will cover some of the following issues:
- Exploring the need to include the built environment in the context of a specialist court
- Engaging communities in the planning system and the importance of consulting
- Working with and advising the public sector
- Promoting local democracy, citizen engagement and understanding the challenges facing public bodies
Jean Charsley, Hillhead Community Council
Shane Spence, Ardersier and Petty Community Council
Lynda Towers, Director of Public Law, Morton Frasers LLP
Peter McColl, Head of Policy, NESTA
14:20 Questions and Open Floor Discussion
14:50 Refreshments and Networking
Session 4: Broadening the scope of the issue
15:20 Environmental justice and governance issues
- What would a more holistic approach to environmental justice need to consider?
- Key recommendations for moving forward
Lloyd Austin, Convener of Governance Group, Scottish Environment LINK
15:40 Energy as a justice issue
- Policy discourses of energy justice
- Looking at place, scale and system in energy injustice
Dr Darren McCauley, Senior Lecturer, University of St Andrews
16:00 Community Energy and the Empowerment of Communities
- Is community ownership of energy the key to reducing inequalities and promoting environmental justice?
- What are the realities of this kind of community empowerment?
Dr Mhairi Aitken, Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
16:20 Questions and Discussion
16:45 Final remarks from the Chair
16:50 Close of Conference
17:00 Post-conference drinks reception
- Co-hosted by University of Edinburgh department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability & Holyrood Communications