Pollution control and the rule of law
The thesis is an attempt to apply the rule of law to pollution control, the aim being to discover whether one form of environmental regulation can be regarded as more constitutionally legitimate than another. The thesis begins with a detailed discussion of the rule of law. In the first chapter, I suggest that the rule of law cannot simply be 'intuitively realised', but rather that the values associated with it must be accounted for through theoretical analysis. Immanent critique is rejected as a theoretical technique in favour of Dworkin's 'constructive interpretation'. The latter approach yields the rule of law values of equity, accountability, efficiency, certainty and effectiveness. Future chapters involve the application of these values to specific modes of pollution control. In chapter two, the 'command-and-control' regulatory systems operated by HMIP, the NRA, local authorities (air pollution control and waste regulation) and water and sewerage companies are analysed in terms of rule of law values - except for accountability which is discussed separately and in much greater depth in chapters 3 to 6. In these four chapters, I begin by examining general accountability mechanisms before exploring accountability for specific decisions such as the setting of ambient standards, the setting of emission/process standards and finally, monitoring and enforcement. Having discussed command-and-control approaches to pollution control, chapter 7 proceeds to examine market mechanisms of environmental regulation in terms of the rule of law values. The values are first applied to pollution taxes and tradeable permits at an abstract level; they are then applied to the existing cost-recovery charging schemes operated by the various regulatory bodies. Finally, in chapter eight I attempt to apply the rule of law values to 'market approaches' to pollution control such as environmental management and audit, green consumerism and investment, government industry contracts and civil liability. The conclusion of the thesis then assesses the success or otherwise of the practical application of the rule of law that has been attempted in previous chapters. It considers whether one can use the rule of law as a benchmark of legitimacy to conclude that one form of pollution control is more constitutionally legitimate than another.