12 May 2009
These latest environmental regulations follow a European Directive and are based around what is known as the ‘polluter pays principle’.
The idea is that anyone responsible for environmental damage should pay for it, not the taxpayer. To make this happen the new regulations make the position on liability for pollution clearer for businesses.
There is now strict liability (no need to show fault) for pollution in some situations outlined in the regulations – such as discharges to water, use of pesticides or other dangerous substances, releasing genetically modified organisms and transporting dangerous goods.
Fault– liability is also introduced in respect of environmental damage to protected species and natural habitats from any other occupational activity.
But the regulations go further than just establishing the polluter pays principle. They require businesses to take steps to stop pollution and to report incidents. Also, they make it clear what must be done to put things right following any environmental damage.
This could mean taking steps to restore habitats or waterways to how they were before, as well as paying financial compensation. For damage to land, polluters could be required to remove or control contaminants to prevent any risk to human health.
Overall, the aim is to make sure action is taken more quickly, instead of having to wait a long time for prosecution to take place.
Aviva Risk Management Services offer a full environmental regulatory review. Our consultants will spot any potential breaches of legislation and provide an action plan for improvement.