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Assessing the Environmental Efficacy of Product Environmental Legislation.

Castell, Alice. (2003) Assessing the Environmental Efficacy of Product Environmental Legislation. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

Environmental legislation is rarely based on environmental objectives and there is currently no measurement of its environmental performance. Producer Responsibility legislation covering packaging, for example, was based on the need to harmonise legislation and has still not achieved a reduction in the amount of packaging being produced, despite being in force for over 5 years. Legislators may start out with environmental objectives but the research presented here shows that these are often diluted or lost in the legislative process, as illustrated by the Packaging and WEEE Directives which do not include the principles of the waste hierarchy. Intense lobbying by parties with diverse interests is shown to result in legislation which is effectively the lowest common denominator of the original objectives. The research shows that the legislative approach of the EU leads to fragmented legislation which does not address the environmental impacts of products holistically, leading to the shifting of environmental problems, rather than their solution. Furthermore, there is a lack of baseline data to assess the pre-legislative situation, coupled with inadequate post-legislative measurement which means that the net environmental benefit of legislation is difficult or impossible to assess. Participation in the legislative process by conducting the research within the electronics sector allowed a detailed analysis of current legislative performance. This thesis highlights the main points where changes to the environmental objectives occur, the forces active in bringing about these changes, and the effects of these changes on the environment. Identifying where product environmental legislation currently fails has led to the development of an environmental legislation management system (ELMS) which aims to improve the environmental efficacy of future product environmental legislation by suggesting a framework for obtaining data to inform future decision-making. It is suggested that by setting suitable environmental objectives and maintaining them throughout the legislative process, changes which reduce the resulting environmental efficacy, such as those identified, can be avoided. This theory is tested with reference to current and future proposals for environmental product legislation and is shown to have the potential to avoid the legislative failures identified, if applied in the future. The executive summary provides an overview of the research conducted and details further examples of where legislation is not currently environmentally efficacious.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Castell, Alice.
Date : 2003
Additional Information : Thesis (Eng.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2003.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 30 Apr 2019 08:07
Last Modified : 20 Aug 2019 15:32
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/851224

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