Guide to Community Rights, Environment and Planning Law

Learn about the legal and planning system and get to know your rights when it comes to decisions about your local area.
  Published:  17 Nov 2017    |      2 minute read

Environmental law and the planning system can be powerful tools in the work for healthier nature, clean air and water and a better environment for everyone.

At times it can feel like the people with the most money and connections get to make the decisions about what happens where you live. And it can feel like those with less power are the ones who have to put up with the consequences — affecting their health and quality of life.

At Friends of the Earth we're committed to supporting people in their hopes for more sustainable development. We want to provide the tools to enable you to have your say in the decisions which will affect you.

Here you will find guidance on community rights, environment and planning law, written by our own expert team of lawyers and planners.

Your right to know

Information is power. Freedom of Information (FOI) laws give everyone the opportunity to access information held by public authorities such as national and local government.

Your right to participate

You have a right to participate in development plans and controls in your local area. The planning system is in the public interest. It gives you your most powerful right to participate and be heard in decisions that affect the environment.

Your right to challenge

Judicial Review (JR) is a form of court proceeding that allows you to ask the judge to review the validity of a public body's decisions. It is an important way of holding public authorities to account for their actions.

Community Rights and Justice Centre

Friends of the Earth's Rights and Justice Centre provides legal advice and representation to people who want to use the law to protect their communities and the environment.

We take on a small number of environmental public-interest cases on behalf of these groups. We try, in particular, to work with community groups that suffer the brunt of bad environmental decisions and cannot otherwise get legal advice.

We also try to take test cases that will help other communities in the future.

If you think your issue meets these criteria, please email our Legal team*.

Planning support

Friends of the Earth's planning experts provide guidance to people who want to engage with the planning system to protect their communities and local environment from inappropriate and damaging developments.

We take on a very small number of environmental public-interest cases on behalf of local groups. We especially try to accommodate the needs of those community groups under threat of development and that cannot otherwise get planning consultancy advice.

Our support can range from providing advice on making objections, to responding to planning consultations, providing Inquiry advice and enabling better and effective understanding of, and engagement with, the planning system.

If you think your issue meets these criteria, please email our Planning team*.

*We take your privacy very seriously. We're committed to making sure we work in line with current data protection legislation and protecting your personal information online. See our privacy policy for more details.