The time and financial costs of this sort of litigation are extravagant. Meanwhile, the environment continues to be degraded and our scarce natural resources depleted.
The Environment Council in London has introduced a way forward based on the idea of consensus-building, and it is beginning to be used extensively in other countries such as the Netherlands.
In Britain the biggest barrier to taking on such ideas is our culture of adversarial resolution of differences. This obscures the real way forward, which is to make enforcement redundant. It means working on the formulation of policy and legislation together with those responsible for its implementation. With the help of 'third parties', such as mediators and facilitators, everyone agrees about what should be done and who should be responsible for doing it.
My real fear is that if we have to wait for an electoral system capable of producing a culture in which consensus and consensus politics play an important role, our environment will be already beyond the point of no return.
Allen Hickling and Associates (Process Consultants)
Long Itchington, Warwickshire