The Environmental Liability Directive
The Environmental Liability Directive aims to make those causing damage to the environment (water, land and nature) legally and financially responsible for that damage. By implementing the ‘polluter pays’ principle in this way, the Directive should ensure that environmental damage is repaired at the expense of the polluter, rather than the taxpayer. This should create a strong incentive for operators to avoid environmental damage in the first place.
The Directive was adopted in April 2004. Member States had until 30 April 2007 to bring into force the appropriate laws and regulations to implement the Directive.
In the past, BirdLife worked within a coalition of European environmental NGOs at EU level to campaign for an environmentally effective Directive. However, there was much lobbying against the Directive by various interest groups. This resulted in a Directive that leaves almost all of the key issues to the discretion of Member States: the exceptions from clean-up costs, the requirements for financial security and the provisions regarding Member States’ responsibilities for cleaning up environmental damage.
BirdLife believes that it is vital that Member States bring into force effective national legislation to make polluters pay, particularly when they cause damage to birds and habitats requiring protection under EU nature conservation laws.
- Brochure produced by BirdLife and WWF on the Environmental Liability Directive - July 2004 (PDF, 565 KB)
- Briefing: The ELD and biodiversity - November 2005 (PDF, 175 KB)
- Briefing: General issues relating to the ELD - November 2005 (PDF, 157 KB)
- Briefing: The ELD and water - November 2005 (PDF, 160 KB)
- Briefing: The ELD and GMOs (PDF, 91 KB)
- Briefing: Implementation of the ELD (PDF, 120 KB)
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