Environmental liability

Information about the Environmental Liability Directive, what environmental damage is and access to the Environmental Liability Regulations 2009.

Environmental Liability Directive

The Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) has the objective of making operators of activities which cause environmental damage financially liable for that damage (the ‘polluter pays’ principle). It imposes duties on operators of economic activities to take immediate steps to prevent damage if there is an imminent threat, and to control damage which is occurring so as to limit its effects.

What is environmental damage?

For the purposes of the ELD, environmental damage is:

  • damage which has significant adverse effects on reaching or maintaining favourable conservation status of species and natural habitats protected under EC legislation
  • damage that significantly adversely affects the ecological, chemical and/or quantitative status and/or ecological potential of waters falling within the scope of the water framework directive
  • Land contamination that creates a significant risk of human health being adversely affected as a result of direct or indirect introduction in, on or under land of substances, preparations, organisms and micro-organisms

Environmental Liability Regulations 2009

The Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 are now in operation and can be viewed here

Cost recovery

The Department  intends to recover costs incurred in relation to any preventative and remedial actions taken pursuant to these Regulations, including the costs of measures taken on its behalf

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