We believe that individuals, communities and NGOs have the right to be involved in planning decisions that affect our environment, such as the construction of power stations, bridges, roads and golf courses.
When people are enabled to take part in decision making, this helps to shift the balance of power away from big corporates and developers towards the communities who are affected by these decisions.
However, individuals and communities often feel that they haven't been properly engaged in decisions that affect their environment, or feel that poor decisions have been made that will adversely impact on them.
And when people and communities try to legally challenge a badly made decision or a damaging development, all kinds of barriers stand in the way.
In fact, the odds are so stacked against the ordinary citizen who wants to challenge an environmentally damaging decision or act, that going to court to defend a healthy and clean environment has become a luxury that effectively only the very time and money rich can afford.
A healthy environment is a basic right to which we are all entitled, and should all be able to defend. We believe that individuals and environmental organisations should have the right to challenge decisions that will have a serious impact on the environment and that excessive costs and legal complexities should not prohibit them from doing so.
We are campaigning for legal changes to ensure that the right to a healthy environment is seen as a fundamental human right. We are calling for full compliance with the Aarhus Convention, an international treaty that enshrines rights of participation, information and access to justice in environmental matters.
We have a petition at the Scottish Parliament calling on MSPs to challenge the Scottish Government on barriers to standing up for the environment to ensure that communities can defend their right to a healthy environment.
We are engaging with the Scottish Government's Making Justice Work Programme of reform to ensure that environmental justice and Aarhus compliance is high on the agenda in this once in a lifetime overhaul of the court system. Search for 'justice' in our resources section to find briefings, consultation responses and evidence.
We are working to secure a specialist environmental court or tribunal for Scotland that is rooted in Aarhus principles of environmental rights and protection. Read our report Litigation Over the Environment: an Opportunity for Change.
We work closely with the Environmental Law Centre Scotland, a charity that uses the law to protect people, the environment and nature, and increase access to environmental justice.
We engage with Planning Democracy, a charity who exist to campaign for a fair and inclusive planning system in Scotland.
We chair and work with the Legal Governance Group of the Scottish Environment LINK network. LINK represents a range of environmental interests with the common goals of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society and pursuing environmental justice.
We have a track record in opposing major projects that harm the environment, such as the:
Download Tipping the Scales, our report on Scotland's compliance with the Aarhus Convention, and Litigation Over the Environment: an Opportunity for Change.
Find out more about environmental justice.
Please support our Access to Justice campaign and donate today.