“Environmental review”: a new enforcement option under the CPR?
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is consulting on proposals to amend the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) to establish “environmental review” in the High Court’. We discuss the Government’s proposals below.
The interim OEP is an independent environmental watchdog. The OEP’s principal objective is to contribute to environmental protection and to the improvement of the natural environment. The formal creation of the OEP is provided for in the Environment Bill – which we previously wrote about here.
The Bill also provides for the use of “environmental review” as an enforcement option available to the OEP. In the flowchart below, we outline how the OEP’s investigations, and any consequential enforcement action, would work:
During the environmental review process, the High Court must determine whether the PA has failed to comply with environmental law, applying the same principles as are available in judicial review. If the court finds that a PA has failed to comply with environmental law, it must issue a “statement of non-compliance” and may grant judicial review remedies (other than damages).
The consultation is seeking in particular, views on a definition of “environment review”, and consequential amendments to various CPR provisions. The consultation closes on 6 September 2021. Royal assent of the Environment Bill is also expected in the autumn. We will keep you updated.
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