, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 95-113

Emerging international principles of environmental protection and their impact on Britain

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Summary

The paper reviews emerging international principles of environmental protection, as well as their refinement, during the last two decades of implementation. It is argued that international efforts were primarily directed towards the prevention of transfrontier pollution and could only succeed if there was agreement on the meaning of the term “pollution”. The concept of pollution is therefore explored in some detail. Confusion about the meaning of pollution, combined with the impact of international regulation (both global and European) on British practice, help to explain some of the fundamental problems now facing the traditional British pollution control regime, especially its legal and philosophical basis. It is argued that recent and proposed administrative changes will be insufficient to comply with European expectations. Political changes and a more active involvement by the judiciary and the public may be required.

Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen is a Research Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit of the University of Sussex. She obtained her first degree in Geography from the University of Adelaide and her D Phil in International Relations from the University of Sussex.