The Precautionary Principle

All forms of environmental risk should be tested against the precautionary principle that means that where there are real risks to the site, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures that are likely to be cost effective in preventing such damage. It does not however imply that the suggested cause of such damage must be eradicated unless proved to be harmless and it cannot be used as a licence to invent hypothetical consequences. Moreover, it is important, when considering whether the information available is sufficient, to take account of the associated balance of likely costs, including environmental costs, and benefits (DETR, 1998).