The Environmental Liability Directive

The Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) was adopted in Europe in 2004 and will be transposed and implemented by the end of April 2007. The purpose of the Directive is to make companies that cause environmental damage financially responsible for remediating and preventing this damage, in accordance with the Polluter Pays Principle. It will also serve to harmonise the different liability regimes which exist in the EU.

In this case, environmental damage means:

  • Damage to protected species and natural habitats which has adverse effects on their reaching or maintaining a favourable conservation status of such habitats or species.
  • Water damage which significantly adversely affects the ecological, chemical and/or quantitative status and/or ecological potential, as defined in the Water Framework Directive.
  • Land contamination, through either substances or organisms, that creates a significant risk of human health.
  • ‘Damage’ is defined as “a measurable adverse change in a natural resource or measurable impairment of a natural resource service which may occur directly or indirectly”.
  • Related Directives
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