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UCL Launches New MSc Programme on Global Management of Natural Resources

Published: Jan 19, 2016 5:07:52 AM

UCL Australia Graduation 2015

Published: Dec 3, 2015 1:33:45 AM

Santos Scholarship 2016

Published: Sep 22, 2015 2:09:55 AM


UCL Australia
Torrens Building
220 Victoria Square
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000

Tel: +61 8 8110 9960
Fax: +61 8 8212 3039

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Research at UCL Australia

UCL School of Energy and Resources

Research in the School of Energy and Resources focuses on both the upstream and downstream development of energy and resources, covering a wide range of disciplines - from engineering and economics to environmental science and law. 

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Mullard Space Science Laboratory

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.

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International Energy Policy Institute

The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.

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2014 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report cover

Read about all departmental research in the 2014 Annual Report.

Testing uncharted waters: the precautionary principle and the protection of groundwater in coal seam gas operations in Queensland

James Foo

James Fung Chern Foo, BA LLB

Project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc (Energy and Resources), UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia.


One of the most prominent principles underlying environmental law is the precautionary principle – at its core lies the idea that decision-makers should be taking steps to address the threat of serious and irreversible harm before scientific evidence has been established to prove that the harm will occur. 

My research found the implementation of this important legal principle in the energy and resources industry in Australia produces inconsistent results. Further, in Queensland specifically, its implementation through adaptive management may not necessarily protect Queensland’s groundwater resources.

The application of the precautionary principle is especially aimed at containing the potential impacts of new technologies, as the full impacts on society may not be fully appreciated. Its application to the coal seam gas industry is especially pertinent, given the introduction of relatively new production techniques into new environments. However, there are significant concerns about the uncertainties of coal seam gas production, especially in relation their potential impacts on Queensland’s groundwater resources.