Environmental Law Foundation

(Environmental Law Foundation)

Project Name

Rights of Nature

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  • Granted


  • Year


  • Location

    United Kingdom


The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) help the voice of ordinary people and communities to be heard on matters affecting the environment in which they live. ELF are about participation and access to justice when the open spaces, wildlife, land use and waterways near your home are under threat.

This is a legal right. The UK signed the UNECE Convention on Access to Environmental Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the “Aarhus Convention”) in 1998 and ratified it in 2005. The Aarhus Convention links human rights and environmental protection in binding international law for the first time, and a key component of the Convention is ensuring that legal challenges on environmental matters are not prohibitively expensive. However, a new report by ELF, RSPB and Friends of the Earth reveals the impact of the UK’s failure to meet these international commitments to ensure environmental claimants are not priced out of court.

ELF address this need by providing free information and guidance in-house on environmental issues for individuals and communities,  also through their university-based law clinics, and via our network of specialist environmental lawyers and technical experts. They exist primarily to help socially and economically disadvantaged communities which want to address their environmental concerns, but lack the resources or information to do so.

The funding is to help them continue their core work but also to work on the ‘rights for nature‘ in the UK. Recently, the idea of granting legal rights to nature and so creating more effective and enforceable environmental protections that go beyond traditional regulatory approaches has gained traction. There have been a number of key cases and initiatives that have advanced the cause of the Rights of Nature in recent years. In 2017, the Whanganui River in New Zealand became the first river in the world to be granted legal personhood, recognizing its rights to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.”  By recognizing the inherent value of the natural world, we can create a more sustainable and healthy future for all.

With funding from ERF, ELF will support and advocate for the Rights of Nature in our own communities and beyond.