The general functions of most environmental laws are –
- Set offences and penalties for causing harm to the environment which is not authorised
- Assess, control or stop certain activities (such as land use and development) before they are carried out
- Set policies and standards for how activities will be controlled and how environmental decisions and approvals will be made
- Enable members of the public to take part in environmental decision-making
- Create regulatory structures for environmental management, such as regulatory agencies (e.g. the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment)
- Create specialist courts and tribunals (e.g. the Lands, Planning and Mining Tribunal)
In the Northern Territory, some environmental laws are made by the Northern Territory Parliament. Others are made by the Commonwealth Parliament. Some environmental laws are also made by local councils or the courts.
Environmental law means the laws that regulate the impact of human activities on the environment. Environmental law covers a broad range of activities that affect air, water, land, flora or fauna. It includes laws that relate to: Protection of animals and plants.