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Satellites: A New Era for Envi ronmental Compliance?

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image of Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

Traditional national methods of ensuring compliance with the requirements of environmental regulation based on licencing and bureaucratic physical inspection regimes can be resource intensive and may be ill suited to contemporary challenges. Ensuring compliance with international environmental laws is equally a matter of increasing concern. In recent years there has been growing interest internationally as to whether satellite technologies could have the capabilities to provide new and valuable sources of environmental information to be used in compliance strategies. This paper explores the potential and significance of employing satellite monitoring data as a compliance tool in the context of important recent advancements in the technology. Whilst satellite technologies offer great promise for detecting and monitoring environmentally related activities, it is clear that they are not yet suitable for all types of compliance monitoring needs. The paper will draw upon some national and international experience to date, and assess both the constraints and the opportunities that may be provided by satellite technologies in addressing limitations in conventional environmental inspection and enforcement regimes.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Laws, University College London


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