The Constitution on United Kingdom is not a written Constitution but rather a collection of information material which can be found in many different conventions such as the Magna Carta from 1297. It was the foundation of all countries Constitution and was the legal document to influence and developing the legal system on England. The Bill of Rights from 1688 deals with the exercise of the royal prerogative and succession to the Crown, and in 1998 the Human Rights Act was formed that gives right and freedom. The agreement with the European Communities Act, 1972, which was same year UK joined the European Community, European legislation has influenced the British Constitutional law. Because United Kingdom is country without a written Constitution it is difficult to locate environmental rights as a constitutional law.
When UK joined the European Community in 1972 the European environmental legislation has gradually shaped the countries environmental law system in UK with more integrated approaches to environmental protection than the old one.
UK has a divided environmental legislation between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Welsh with primary legislation divided in different environmental areas.
The Environmental Protection Act, 1990 is an act of the parliament of the United Kingdom within England, and Scotland and Wales. The structure and laws for environmental protection is divided in seven parts with fundamental rights and management of the environment. It has also integrated European Union environmental legislation such pollution in air and waste on land control.
The UK Government launched its new strategy for sustainable development in 2005, called Securing the Future. The Strategy takes account of developments since the 1999 Strategy, both nationally and internationally, the changed structure of government in the UK with decentralization to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, greater emphasis on delivery at regional level and the new relationship between government and local authorities. The lead Department, Defra, chairs a Programme Board to oversee delivery of the Strategy, but all UK Departments share responsibility for making sustainable development a reality.
The five guiding principles for sustainable development in the UK that is set up to the period of 2020 are:
1. Living Within Environmental Limits
2. Ensuring a Strong, Healthy and Just Society
3. Achieving a Sustainable Economy
4. Using Sound Science Responsibly
5. Promoting Good Governance
There are also four shared priority areas shared across in UK:
- Climate change and energy: Change the way to generate and use energy to alter the activities that release GH gases.
- Sustainable consumption and production: Awareness of social and environmental concerns how goods and services are produced.
- Sustainable communities: Involve governance for communities to affect decisions.
- Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement: To ensure a decent environment for everyone and a more integrated policy framework.
Information on United Kingdom's environmental legislation can be accessed through the Government's official website.