Polluter Pays: So it is better to prevent than remediate
The Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35/EC establishes a framework based on the “polluter pays” principle to prevent and remediate environmental damage.
- The economic operator bears the financial consequences from harm or damage caused to the environment
Where environmental damage has not yet occurred:
- The operator shall, without delay, take measures to inform the competent authority of all aspects of the situation.
Where environmental damage has occurred:
- All relevant authorities should be informed, and all practical steps taken in order to limit further environmental damage.
- The operator is liable under the directive to bear the cost of the necessary preventative or remedial measures.
- The competent authority may initiate cost recovery proceedings against the operator within five years of the remedial measures having been completed.