The aim of the second edition of Sourcebook on Environmental Law is to provide ready access to the principal international, European and domestic sources of environmental law together with an extended commentary and references to secondary materials. In the period since the first edition environmental law has continued to develop in scope and complexity. Against this background we have endeavoured to provide a comprehensive selection of key materials in a single, albeit enlarged, volume.
We have taken the opportunity to fully revise the text and include reference and commentary to key developments, including the Kyoto Protocol 1997, the Aarhus Convention 1998, the Basel Protocol 1999 and the Biosafety Protocol 2000. At the European level there is coverage of the changes introduced by the Amsterdam Treaty 1997; the Water Framework Directive 2000; the new Air Quality Directives; and the EC White Paper on Environmental Liability. There is also discussion of the proposed Sixth Environmental Action Programme. The domestic coverage now includes consideration of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the implementation of the contaminated land regime, together with coverage of the new UK Waste Strategy. This edition also includes extensive consideration of the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on environmental law.
At the time of writing this Preface the future of the Kyoto Protocol looks a little rosier following the relative success of the Bonn Conference of Parties in the face of US intransigence. Looking ahead, we can anticipate continued developments at the EC level including adoption of the Sixth Environmental Action Programme, a new Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment, further responses to air and water pollution, as well as the prospect of a new environmental liability regime. We await the UK responses to these developments. In this context we should note that following the 2001 General Election most of the environmental functions of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) were transferred to a new Department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). References to DETR throughout this book should be read with this in mind. Clearly there is much to occupy the attention of environmental lawyers and students of this subject. We trust that this book will make a useful contribution.
The decision of the High Court in Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd, was reported shortly after finalisation of proofs (see  3 All ER 698), but nonetheless deserves a mention. Here it was held that although at common law a statutory undertaker was not liable to a person in its area for failing, negligently or otherwise, to fulfil its statutory duty of drainage by carrying out works necessary to prevent repetition of a nuisance which it had not caused or created, it could be liable under the Human Rights Act 1998. Here, a failure to carry out works to bring an end to flooding of Marcic’s property constituted a breach of Art 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (right to a home). There had also been a breach of Art 1 of the First Protocol (peaceful enjoyment of property). The case provides an indication of the way the Human Rights Act 1998 may be used to complement nuisance law as a tool for environmental protection.