The UK has fallen behind China on environmental law. That was the striking message delivered to environmental leaders by Clientearth CEO James Thornton last night.
Giving UKELA’s annual Garner Lecture, James set out how it is easier for Chinese citizens to challenge polluters in the courts than it is for people in Britain.
Access to the courts is opening up fast in China. The government has enacted a law this year which allows citizens to bring environmental cases against polluters. More than 30 cases have already been lodged, the first of which has already succeeded.
In contrast, the UK government is taking ever more strident steps to keep citizens out of the courts. New costs rules under consultation until December will deter environmental action in the courts still further.