Nuisance Law and Environmental Protection - A study of nuisance injunctions in practice


By Dr Ben Pontin
FOREWORD by Lord Carnwath JSC

Publication  December 2013
ISBN 978-0-09539403-5-6
Hard back - illustrated - 224 pages
Price £45.00   full contents

This book about the common law's important contribution to environmental protection takes a practical - and novel - approach to nuisance law. It focuses on the social and environmental consequences of the enforcement of nuisance injunctions.

The analysis is structured around in-depth fieldwork into a selection of famous nuisance actions concerning serious pollution arising from fast developing industry. These lead to a discussion of recent cases Biffa, Hunter v Canary Wharf, and the ongoing Lawrence litigation. 

In each case - Birmingham Corporation, Tipping, Farnworth and Halsey the consequences of the award of an injunction - the 'what happened next?' - are explored in detail, showing their relevance to the current debates over planning and administrative law. 

The common law facilitated a surprising - if never complete - "green industrial revolution"; these studies contribute an important new dimension to the award of remedies today and the complex relationship between nuisance and administrative controls. 

Quoted in the SUPREME COURT Judgment of 26 February 2014 in 

COVENTRY and OTHERS (Respondents) v. LAWRENCE and ANOTHER (Appellants)
"176. Ben Pontin in his valuable recent book Nuisance Law and Environmental Protection (2013) shows how since the middle of the 19th century common law nuisance has played an important complementary role to regulatory controls, one hand stimulating industry to find better technical solutions to environmental problems, and, on the other, stimulating the legislature to fill gaps in the regulatory system. He sees the present appeal as an important opportunity for the Supreme Court to review the proper role of this part of the law of nuisance in the modern world (p 184)."


"Dr Pontin's book is full of fascinating insights into what lies behind the cases and what have been their practical results. He shows how judicial interventions have not only advanced the law but made a real and beneficial difference to the environment. There are many lessons to be learnt for the future development of the law, particularly in relation to remedies"
Lord Carnwath JSC 

Journal of Environmental Law 
Nuisance Law and Environmental Protection represents an important and insightful contribution to the ongoing debate about the efficacy of nuisance law as a means of environmental protection. Described by Lord Carnwath JSC in Coventry v Lawrence as 'Valuable' (at para 76), this book and case studies therein contributes significantly to a deeper understanding of nuisance law. On matters of style, the book is well written and even entertaining in places, and represents a 'must read' for any scholar of nuisance law.

Patrick Bishop 
Swansea Law School