Camden becomes first UK council to endorse ecocide laws

The London borough voted unanimously in favour of endorsing international efforts to expand definitions and reach of environmental criminality and laws. 

people walking on sidewalk near pink cherry blossom trees during daytime

Defined as ‘unlawful or wanton acts committed with the knowledge that there is substantial likelihood of sever and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment’, the term has been gaining support from administrations across the globe. 

Already governments in Mexico, Brazil, Scotland and the Netherlands are seriously considering introducing bills to and laws to prosecute those who break regulations. Now a Camden Council vote has pledged to support these steps with cross-party backing at the authority, which has become the UK’s first to align with the movement. 

Proposed by Cllr Anna Wright, while questions hang over how much can be done in this area at a local level, she explained that ‘small steps can lead to big social change’, citing the motion as a significant move. 

‘This is a meaningful act and one that will be felt far beyond the borders of the electoral ward of Camden. I very much hope to see similar action taken by council’s across the UK,’ said Jojo Mehta, co-Founder and Executive Director of Stop Ecocide International. ‘I have no doubt that the recent wave of domestic and regional ecocide proposals indicates very real likelihood that we’ll see international recognition of the crime of ecocide very soon.’ 

‘It links to the local to the global, a strong signal of political support that will lead to changes in The Hague and beyond,’ added Professor Philippe Sands KC, a Camden resident and co-chair of the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide. ‘This was a vote for the environment, for the young, for our own survival as a species. It was a vote for future generations and for hope.’ 

More on ecocide: 

Giving rivers and communities a voice: Environmental Law Foundation

Should ecocide be criminalised?

International community weighs up ‘ecocide’ laws

Experts recommend granting legal rights to animals and nature

Image: Samuel Regan-Asante



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