Crime is in the air - air pollution and regulation in the UK

Walters, Reece (2009). Crime is in the air - air pollution and regulation in the UK. 1746-6946; CCJS, Kings College, London.



This latest briefing by Professor Reece Walters in the What is crime? series, draws attention to an area of harm that is often absent from criminological debate. He highlights the human costs of air pollution and failed attempts to adequately regulate and control such harm. Arguing for a cross disciplinary ‘eco-crime’ narrative, the author calls for greater understanding of the far-reaching consequences of air pollution which could set in train changes which may lead to a ‘more robust and meaningful system of justice’. Describing current arrangements in place to control and regulate air pollution, Walters draws attention to the lack of neutrality in current arrangements and the bias ‘towards the economic imperatives of free trade over and above the centrality of environmental protection’. While attention is often given to direct and individualised instances of ‘crime’, the serious consequences of air pollution are frequently neglected. The negative effects of pollution on health and well-being are often borne by people already experiencing a range of other disadvantages. In a global and national context, it is often the poor who are affected most. Ultimately, political and economic imperatives have historically helped to shape legal and regulatory regimes. Whether this is an inherent flaw in current systems or something that can be overcome in favour of dealing with more wide-ranging harms is an area that requires further discussion and debate.

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