A book about environmental law fits remarkably well in the Law in Context series. Understanding environmental problems, even at a simple level, requires some appreciation of the concepts and methods employed by disciplines other than law. In turn, the law is shaped by the results of research in these different fields, with legal regulation and legal activities (for example standard setting, enforcement, prosecution) supported and legitimated by the work of biologists, chemists, economists, engineers, geneticists and physicists. As Dan Farber states, ‘it has long been a cliché that environmental regulation operates on the frontier of science’. But, importantly, environmental law is also underpinned by cultural assumptions, the sources of which – philosophies, popular culture, ecological theories – are diverse and sometimes obscure, but arguably no less influential than those from the more traditional scientific domains. A contextual approach to environmental law is therefore less a choice of research methodology, and more an imperative arising from the subject itself. The title of this book, Environmental Protection, Law and Policy, is a deliberate reflection of this, emphasising the political context, or policy world, from which environmental law is drawn and nourished, and also making clear that law is but one aspect of ‘environmental protection’. Philip Selznick has highlighted these and other aspects of a law in context approach – not specifically with regard to environmental law, but many of his observations are highly pertinent to the approach that we have adopted in writing this book.