As the range and scope of the issues and activities covered by the body of rules that can be characterised as falling within the field of “Environmental Law” continues to expand, there arises an ever-greater risk of fragmentation and inconsistency. This problem has long been recognised in relation to international (environmental) law, but less so in the context of national or EU environmental law and policy where the risks of incoherence are, if anything, more acute. For example, while we have clear quality standards for water which is to be used for drinking, recreation, or fisheries, no comparable water quality standards exist for ecosystems, despite ever-increasing threats to the health of aquatic ecosystems. This suggests a lack of coordination between the body of rules relating to water quality (or human health) and those rules concerned with the conservation of species, habitats and biodiversity. A range of institutional arrangements and regulatory devices might function to address any lack of coherence between legal rules and standards, such as the establishment of specialist environmental courts or increased reliance on inherently integrative environmental assessment methodologies. However, even these integrative methodologies might give rise to overlap, duplication and resulting confusion, such as might occur between the general schemes for EIA and SEA and assessments required in respect of potential impacts upon particular sites designated for special protection for the purposes of nature conservation. Furthermore, such environmental assessment requirements are embedded within a system of land-use planning controls which might struggle to incorporate and implement multiple environmental requirements, let alone to reconcile such requirements with relevant economic and social objectives. Of course, the requirements of climate change mitigation and adaptation are likely to impact upon, and will need to be coordinated with, almost all aspects of environmental and planning control, highlighting the need for highly competent and flexible regulatory institutions and for adaptive and ‘open-textured’ legal frameworks, which can continue to evolve in order to address new challenges with coherent legal and regulatory responses. Therefore, experts will present papers addressing a wide range of aspects of this theme (broadly understood). Such papers or presentations might address, for example: - institutional developments in Ireland or in any comparable jurisdiction; - developments which highlight a lack of coherence in environmental and/or planning law, along with proposals for addressing such incoherence; - legislative developments in any field of environmental or planning law which aim to improve coordination between various regulatory spheres; - the contribution of various types of rules or standards (conventional or non-conventional) to improved coherence in environmental and planning law.
Ms. Silvija Aile, EU Commission, DG Environment: ‘EU Cohesion policy 2014-2020 and EU Semester’
Prof. William Howarth, School of Law, University of Kent: ‘Assessment under the EU Strategic Environmental Assessment and Water Framework Directives’
Prof. Lorraine Talbot, School of Law, Warwick University: ‘Considering Social Sustainability in Company Law Reform: Corporate Goals and Organisational Innovations’
Mr. Eoin Fannon, Office of the Attorney General ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – Issues for An integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’
Prof. Colin Reid, School of Law, University of Dundee: 'Diversification and Integration in Biodiversity Law'
Prof. Geert van Calster, School of Law, Catholic University of Leuven: 'Integrating Environment, Energy and New Technologies: A Discussion of the 'Incremental' Approach for Shale Gas and Nanotechnology Regulation'
Prof. Richard Macrory, Faculty of Laws, University College London: 'The Long and Winding Road – Towards a Specialist Environment Court in England and Wales'
Ms. Fiona Marshall, Aarhus Convention Secretariat, UNECE, Geneva: 'Promoting Environmental Democracy and Justice – The Integrative Role of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee'