Environmental ‘Whistleblowers’

  • Stephen Homewood
  • David Lewis


This chapter seeks to address a number of issues relating to the ability of employees, whether in the public or the private sector, to release confidential information about their employer’s activities to those outside the organization. Where such information is concerned with unlawful or other wrongful activities which cause harm to the environment, it is argued that these ‘whistleblowers’ are assisting in the regulation, control and prevention of pollution. As such, their rights to freedom of expression, which are, arguably, linked to a developing ‘right to know’, should be encouraged by the law. However, whilst some recent developments provide grounds for hope, there remain too many legal, as well as other, constraints. These will be discussed and it will be suggested that they combine to an extent that in the UK, compared to a number of other jurisdictions, there remains little to encourage the employee to exercise this ‘freedom’ of speech in the public interest. This chapter will focus on the role of the whistleblower in assisting the enforcement of environmental law. It will conclude by making some national and international comparisons, together with some suggestions for change.


Public Interest Employment Protection Confidential Information Employment Protection Legislation Environmental Future 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Press Ltd 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Homewood
  • David Lewis

There are no affiliations available

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