The office of Secretary of State for the Environment was established in this country in 1970. In the words of Mr Geoffrey Rippon MP, one of the first holders of the office, this was a "world-first in the battle for the environment". As he said:
"I count myself fortunate to be armed with the powers and resources required for a total strategic approach to environmental management, protection and improvement".
That was just before this country became part of the European Community. It would have been difficult to anticipate the enormous effects of that move in fields outside the areas of commerce and trade, with which the Community was thought to be principally concerned. Protection of the environment was not even mentioned as a separate objective in the Treaty as it then stood. The growth in European-based environmental legislation has been dramatic, particularly since the inclusion of specific articles in the Treaty relating to the environment. It is one of the main contributors to the bulk of the statutory material found in this volume.
But even in the purely domestic context, the thought that the powers available in 1970 would remain adequate for "a total strategic approach" has been disproved by experience of subsequent administrations. It is true that students of the old Public Health and Alkali Acts would still find much that is familiar in the current legislation. Many of the old powers and procedures live on under new names. But they do so within a vastly more complex framework, and within a radically different organizational structure. Finding one's way around this material is a daunting task even for the specialist.
The present volume seeks to bring together in one volume the statutory sources of law relating to pollution control--both primary and secondary. The annotations include comprehensive cross-references. It will prove an indispensable companion for those struggling through the tangled thickets of environmental legislation. I am very pleased to have been asked to write this foreword, and I wish it well.
Sir Robert Carnwath CVO, Justice of the High Court, Chancery Division, November 1996