Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland
November 12, 2020
Community organisations working to address climate change are likely to be interested in the newly establised Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland.
ERCS aims to provide accessible public education and advice and representation services in planning and environmental law in order to support individuals and communities to use their rights to protect the environment, tackle climate change, and improve local biodiversity and greenspaces for health and wellbeing.
ERCS advances environmental justice in two ways:
- by working to address the unequal distribution of environmental problems, and promoting everyone’s right to a healthy environment – these are called substantive rights.
- by working for meaningful participation in decision-making and for fair, timely and affordable access to legal action as a last resort – these are called procedural rights.
An example of their recent work is their response to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee on temporary modifications to planning regulations. This was made in collboration with Planning Democracy, and focused on concerns the principle of public participation in decision-making was being diluted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Community groups may be particulalry interested in seeking specific advice on an environmental issue. This could be, for example, a worrying planning application or loss of greenspace in your neighbourhood. It could also be if you have a general question about environmental or planning law, such as your rights to environmental information. See more about the advice service here.