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England & Wales

In England and Wales, the environmental justice agenda is being linked to policy agendas and campaigns relating to sustainable development, social inclusion, liveability, quality of life, access to justice and ecological debt.



The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has commissioned a number of research projects looking at environmental justice in England and Wales, specifically in relation to the UK’s commitments as a signatory to the Aarhus Convention.

In the UK Government’s 1999 Sustainable Development Strategy ‘A Better Quality of Life’, the approach to environmental justice was to focus on transparency of environmental decision making and access to information, participation and justice.

In 2004, the UK government consulted on the next UK Sustainable Development Strategy . Environmental justice was one of the themes within this consultation. A number of organisations were commissioned to consult the wider public on issues relating to environmental equality and justice. The outputs of the consultation provided responses by Capacity Global in relation to BME communities tackling environmental and social justice and by CIEF on environmental and social justice in the built environment. The revised UK Sustainable Development Strategy, Securing the Future, was published in March 2005.

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) 

The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 aims to promote the sustainability of local communities. It begins from the principle that local people know best what needs to be done to promote the sustainability of their area, but that sometimes they need central government to act to enable them to do so.

DCLG Neighbourhood Renewal Unit

The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) within the DCLG makes the connection between social inclusion and regeneration and environmental justice in ‘A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal: A National Strategy Action Plan’.

In 2004, NRU has commissioned research on environmental equality and its links to social inclusion, crime and safety and regeneration. The Brook Lyndhurst research on “environmental exclusion” provides an overview on how environmental inequality affects the most vulnerable communities.  It surmises that environmental inequality impacts on many equality policy agendas such as access to open space, crime and safety, improving the built environment and health.

The NRU has also published a practitioner guide 'Achieving Environmental Equity through Neighbourhood Renewal'.

UK Sustainable Development Research Network

Environmental justice has been addressed by a number of research bodies including the UK's Sustainable Development Research Network.

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency and Capacity Global mapped UK policy and initiatives to environmental justice in the UK. Their 'Mapping Common Ground' report was published in 2001.

The Environment Agency's more recent research conducted by Staffordshire University  suggests that deprived communities experience disproportionate levels of environmental threat and may sometimes be more susceptible to the detrimental effects of flooding.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a number of seminal research papers that explore policy links to environmental justice as it relates to environmental and social inclusion. The report 'Rainforests are a long way from here' by Burningham and Thrush (2001) noted that social, economic and environmental issues are inextricably linked for people living in run down neighbourhoods. The report ‘Green taxes and charges: Reducing their impact on low-income households’ addresses the design of non-regressive green taxes.

Lancaster University

Lancaster University maintains an Environmental Justice Resource, including an extensive list of publications.

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