Environmental Liability

The European Communities (Environmental Liability) Regulations 2008, (SI 547 of 2008) came into force in Ireland on 1 April 2009 with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage.

Environmental liability is based on the “polluter-pays” principle.  The Regulations introduced a positive reporting obligation on operators in respect of actual or threatened environmental damage.

Environmental damage under the Environmental Liability Regulations means:

  • Water damage that has significant adverse effects on water status under the Water Framework Directive.
  • Land damage that creates a significant risk to human health as a result of the direct or indirect introduction, in, on or under land, of substances, preparations, organisms or micro-organisms.
  • Damage to protected species and natural habitats.