European Convention has recognised Human rights as one of the main cornerstones of its existence. "Under the Human Rights Act 1998, UK courts and public bodies are bound to act in accordance with the Convention. There is one exception to this, which that the Convention right to an individual remedy is not transposed. Instead, there are in effect 'collective' remedies, in the sense that legislation can be decreed incompatible with the Convention and fast-tracked through Parliament for reform," Bell, p.78.
European human rights law operates at a general level at which usually it mostly outweighs the environmental rights and interests. ECJ has interpreted the right to respect home life (Article 8) and tries to provide remedy against extreme pollution1. Human rights law also have an indirect impact on environmental rights because it provides various freedoms like freedom of expression (Article 10). It gives the right of peaceful assembly (Art 11) and this means it is possible to voice the grievances and protest publicly about environmental degradation. EC on Human Rights protects civil, political freedoms, but has not particularly developed any rights against environmental degradation.
Environmental law is comparatively of a very recent origin and has emerged to safeguard the natural environment from the onslaught of human activities that are continuously polluting the earth. Every country has seen that legislation is necessary to protect the natural environment and ecosystems. This is a combination of common law, treaties, negotiated agreements, statutes regulations, precedents, conventions and other governmental policies passed for the purpose.
Some of the laws regulate the activity impact on nature like setting levels of pollution. Environmental law does not have a definite boundary of its own. "The potential lack of doctrinal certainty has, in the United Kingdom at least, led to a number of attempts to 'justify' the existence of a coherent subject known as environmental law as a discrete legal subject area," Bell (2006, p.5).
Environmental law is a political discipline and political parties mutually never agree on a particular legislation. According to Bell, British approach to pollution control is pragmatic and involves consideration discretion. Environmental law involves economic, social, political, cultural criteria in addition to environmental main thrust and regulatory agencies conduct the political balancing process, not always with great success. "The power to define and enforce consents is ultimately a power to put people out of business, to deter the introduction of new business or to drive away a going concern," (Hawkins, 1984 in Bell, p.14).
Most of the laws are preventive in nature. 1960s started the worldwide phenomena of passing environmental laws and now it has become part of sustainable development and the policy thrives on public participation, environmental justice and it imposes fines and in very serious cases, it could punish with imprisonment. The principle here is to prevent, command and control. There are many rights like private rights, public Law Rights, substantive legal rights and human rights involved in the environmental law.
The Climate Change Bill published on 13th March 2007 is aimed at low-carbon economy mainly to cut the carbon emissions by 60% before 2050 and if approved, perhaps UK will