What is a Precautionary Principle? Definition or Meaning

‘Precautionary Principle’ definition:

Is based on Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Land Development of June 1992 (Rio Earth Summit). The Australian Government and other world governments signed an agreement stating:

Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. In the application of the Precautionary Principle, public and private decisions should be guided by:

(i) careful evaluation to avoid wherever practicable, serious or irreversible damage to the environment; and
(ii) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options.

It is an established principle and practice following case law handed down from the NSW Land and Environment Court when determining development in sensitive areas.